Erik: We expect a hostile atmosphere

Sunday 05 March 2023 08:00

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag says his players are looking forward to the "hostile ambience" of Anfield when we meet Liverpool in the Premier League this afternoon.

Erik's first competitive win as United boss came against the Merseysiders at Old Trafford back in August and he is hoping for the same outcome when we make the journey west for the 16:30 GMT kick-off.

Ahead of the blockbuster fixture, Ten Hag conducted his usual matchday interview with club media, where he discussed the reception United will get at Anfield and the character of his players to deal with it.

You can read Erik's response to this topic, and the rest of his exclusive Q&A, below...

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

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

Erik discusses our rivalry with Liverpool and explains how United are 'more effective' now...

Erik, United v Liverpool at Anfield is one of the biggest fixtures in world football. How excited are you to lead your team out there this weekend?
''Very excited. I am really looking forward [to it], and we know we can expect a strong opposition, hostile ambience and we are really looking forward to performing there.''

Your team has often this season shown resilience, toughness, a fighting spirit. How important will those qualities be on Sunday?
''Mentality is one of the decisive factors on Sunday. We know we have to play our best to get the right result there.''

How is the squad looking for the trip? We know Luke [Shaw] and Jadon [Sancho] missed out on Wednesday?
''Jadon was ill, but I expect him back, but I am not sure. Luke picked up a small injury, but I expect him back.''
Both teams are full of world class players, so who or what can make a difference in a big game like this?
''The character makes a difference. The one who is the most resilient and have the most spirit in the team. [Whoever is] most brave will win the game.''

This fixture is really famous for being a tempestuous one, big atmosphere expected, what are the challenges in preparing players for a game like that?
''The players are used to playing those games. We also have the experience [of] playing Liverpool, or if they played Liverpool away, or Manchester United v Liverpool, then they have played [against] Barcelona or Real Madrid. They know how to deal with such locations.''

We have scored two or more goals in each of our last 12 games, so what’s behind our improvement in that aspect of the game?
''We are more effective. That’s coming from the progress we are making in our attacking way of play. That’s about routines, getting the right structures in and how players play often together and the routines are improving, then you score more. Scoring is about small details, so when the routines are better, then when you have the opportunity to score, you are more effective, and it is higher.''

Preview: Liverpool v United


The big games keep on coming for Erik ten Hag’s side, with a trip to Anfield next up in the Premier League.

We often see pictures of you out and about in Manchester on your bike, going to restaurants for example. When you are in and around United fans, do you get a sense of the teams they most like to beat and in particular, City and Liverpool?
‘’Definitely. Especially Liverpool, as that is our rival and we have to win that game. We have beaten them once this season, but we want to go for two.''

Just finally, the scenes of you celebrating with your coaching staff were brilliant at the weekend. I know you always dedicate trophies to your whole staff as a collective. Speaking of staff, Eric Ramsay was named assistant coach at Wales. What are your thoughts on that and how he will continue to work with you?
''I think it is great. Eric is a really talented coach, and he is progressing a lot. He is ambitious and this will happen, and it will improve him and help him to get new experiences, but also it will improve Manchester United as he will bring experiences back in our coaching.''