Ten Hag: 'Only one thing is important'

Thursday 15 September 2022 07:00

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag expects his team to perform to their capabilities in the Europa League tie at Sheriff Tiraspol.

The boss spoke about the good work on the training pitch at Carrington and the presence of goalkeeper David De Gea in advance of the 17:45 BST kick-off in Chisinau.

He also paid tribute to the team's wonderful supporters during the interview with club media, with around 600 fans making the long journey to the Moldovan capital for a crucial game in the context of Group E, following our opening defeat to Real Sociedad.

This is what the manager told Mark Sullivan at the Zimbru Stadium...

Matchday Q&A | Ten Hag on Sheriff Tiraspol (A) Video

Matchday Q&A | Ten Hag on Sheriff Tiraspol (A)

Erik speaks to club media ahead of United's first-ever game in Moldova...

Considering all the postponed games recently, how much are you looking forward to the game here in Moldova?
"It's clear we are used to more games, every three days, and now we have to wait longer so it's more energy, more focus. So we are really looking forward to this game."

You've been able to have more time on the training pitch so how beneficial can that be?
"It was. I think we had good days, where we could give the players some time for themselves, but then also, after that, we had that that time when we had some really good sessions. I think it will be really beneficial for the future, and to start tomorrow."

Moldova is a new destination for us as a club. Six hundred fans have made the long trip so what would you say about our wonderful support?
"Yeah but so they were now, from what I experience, in Bangkok, Melbourne, Perth. They go everywhere! They go also to Moldova and it's great to get that support. Of course, last week we had a defeat so we need a reaction from the team." 

How passionate do you think the Moldovan home fans will be in supporting their team and watching your side in action?
"That's clear, and also we have to be ready for that but that is, for us, the focus on the game and the job. That is the only thing I would say you have to do, as a job and as an individual."

Sheriff cannot be underestimated as a team after their results in Europe...
"That is clear. They beat Real Madrid, and beat Shakhtar Donetsk but, also, we know what we are capable of. We beat the number one team from last season [in some respects] in Liverpool and beat the current number one in the league [in Arsenal] so it's up to us. If we perform, we will get the right result."

David De Gea was with you at the press conference, how important is his knowledge and experience, particularly in Europe, in helping this squad?
"That is clear - his experience helps us a lot. He organises and he leads the back four. It's really important to give the team the right mentality and the attitude to win games."

Finally, it's the last game before the international break and then it's a really busy period, so how important will squad rotation be during that period?
"First, we have to see this game. Let's focus on that and then we will see. Of course, I am aware there is a break and we are planning but that's not important at this moment. There is only one thing that is important and that is this game."