Erik ten Hag on the touchline at the Emirates Stadium

Ten Hag: Details will decide the game

Sunday 03 September 2023 07:00

Erik ten Hag feels his Manchester United team will "have to give everything" in today's huge match against Arsenal and admits fine details could prove decisive.

Our first game of September is a showdown at the Emirates Stadium that could be pivotal as the campaign progresses, between the teams who finished second and third respectively in last season’s Premier League.

In an exclusive interview with club media, the manager has been reflecting on last weekend’s comeback win over Nottingham Forest, today’s opponents, how the United squad is looking, our Champions League draw and the closure of the transfer window.

Scroll down to digest Erik’s thoughts prior to the 16:30 BST kick-off…

Matchday Q&A | Ten Hag on Arsenal (A) Video

Matchday Q&A | Ten Hag on Arsenal (A)

Matchday Q&A | Erik reflects on a busy week and gives his thoughts on today's test against the Gunners...

Erik, it was an incredible game against Nottingham Forest last week. Looking back, how do you reflect on it and what lessons will you be taking from it going into another really important game against Arsenal?
“I think it was an important marker in the season. The season is only in the third game but definitely it was because [it was] such a comeback [that] really gave good team spirit and such a comeback will give a boost to the belief in the team which is on the way and making improvement in the character and making improvement in the belief that even when you are down, when you are losing, that you can always turn around a game and that will help us.”

The resilience and the character shown will certainly be needed at the Emirates Stadium. What are your thoughts on how Arsenal have started their season?
“I think with their style and their system it’s quite clear and they did very well already last season, we were impressed. But we have seen we can play good against them and we’re really looking forward [to it] because probably [it is] one of the most important games in the Premier League. I think everyone is looking forward [to it] and, as I said, both teams have an attacking style so it’s going to be a great game. The audience in the stadium and at home before the television definitely will be the biggest winners. But of course, we want and we have to win this game.”

Last season at the Emirates, you could have easily got something from the game, it was a narrow defeat. Did you learn anything from that one that might help you on Sunday?
“All the games we play, shortly we play them, also at Old Trafford last season, it’s really head to head, we know that, but we have to give everything. It’s about willingness and details will decide the game.”

How is your squad looking for the trip? Is Rasmus Hojlund ready to be involved?
“Yes, he had a good training week and now he is ready, he will be in the squad.”

And is the squad generally okay? I know we have a few long-term injuries but nothing else has cropped up in the week?
“It’s a condensed programme and the load on the players is high. You can’t afford injuries and we need a squad, we need squad depth and you need quality in that squad depth. We have so we can sort out injuries and we put out a good team on the pitch [on] Sunday, a team that is capable of winning [against] Arsenal.”

The transfer window has now closed. Is that good as a manager? All the noise about transfers goes away and we can all concentrate on what matters most which is the football.
“Yeah, definitely. Those weeks are not easy but for the audience they probably like it - all the rumours, all the noise. But it gives a lot of distraction and the demand on the squad and everyone involved is huge because you have to keep the focus on the right point, that is keep the quality, match the standards so that you have a good game.”

Ins and outs: United's summer 2023 transfers


Check our round-up of permanent moves and loan deals in the men's team and Academy.

The Champions League draw was made - your thoughts on our opponents Bayern Munich, Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen?
“A really exciting group. I think with Copenhagen Rasmus [Hojlund] will be really happy to face them, to return to his place, to his former club where he grew up. Always the Danish I think they really come up in the last years, it’s a good atmosphere, I’ve played before there so very good. About atmosphere, I don’t have to mention Galatasaray - they are fanatics and it’s always great to play there. Then of course, Bayern Munich [are] one of the top hits in Europe, also a great stadium. We [are] really looking forward to facing them away but also when we welcome them to Old Trafford.”

You’ve worked at Bayern Munich before and we’ve had so many amazing games with Bayern in the past. That is the standout fixture, how excited are you for it?

“It’s a really good game. As I say, two huge teams, big history [for] both and it’s a great match in the Champions League.”

We can’t wait for that, but first good luck against Arsenal.
“As you say, it’s about that. Go from game to game and Sunday that’s a huge game. I think attention has to be on that and it deserves [attention] that game.”