Ten Hag confident about 'mature' Mainoo

Tuesday 28 November 2023 12:49

Erik ten Hag has no concerns about throwing Kobbie Mainoo into the festival of hostility that awaits Manchester United in Turkey on Wednesday, when we'll face Galatasaray in a must-win Champions League match.

The teenage midfielder was one of United's most impressive performers during the 3-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park at the weekend, on his maiden Premier League start.
That trip to Merseyside was billed as a daunting trip on its own merits, given the Toffees' frustration at the 10-point sanction doled out to them by the Premier League. But the temperature of the game in Istanbul is expected to be even more scorching.
However, speaking in the pre-match press conference, Ten Hag praised Mainoo's precocious maturity, indicating that his only concern was that the youngster remained focused and disciplined after a bright start to his senior career.
Press conference: Galatasaray v United Video

Press conference: Galatasaray v United

Erik ten Hag and Bruno Fernandes face questions on injuries, penalties, Mainoo and more, before Galatasaray away…

"If they are good enough, they are old enough," deadpanned Erik, when asked about whether Kobbie might start again at the Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi, also known as Rams Park.
"We are very pleased with the performance [at Everton], but it's one performance and you have to do it on a consistent base. Kobbie is so mature, [but] you are only good as your last game. 
"Keep your focus on the game. You have to focus on your game, your performance and get the right levels in. When we observe, if a player is moving away from football and getting distracted, we will tell them."
Mainoo has played just four games for the first team, with the Everton match being only his second start in all competitions.
The Stockport-born Academy graduate turned 18 in April, and is yet to complete 90 minutes in a senior fixture, but he was voted Man of the Match after a composed effort in Sunday's win. And, given the injuries to his more senior midfield colleagues Casemiro and Christian Eriksen, Mainoo could be poised to keep his place and make a European debut.
United are at the bottom of Champions League Group A ahead of the meeting with Galatasaray, but a win could propel the Reds up to second place, should FC Copenhagen fail to beat Bayern Munich in Germany.