Ten Hag: No pain, no gain

Wednesday 01 March 2023 07:00

Erik ten Hag insists his Manchester United players need to keep sacrificing for the cause and that is the same message he has been giving the team's youngsters.

The boss wanted the squad to experience the highs of Sunday's Carabao Cup final success to provide a lesson that the pain is all worth it, as we continue to handle a busy schedule.

Ahead of the Emirates FA Cup fifth-round tie with West Ham United, in his usual matchday interview with club media, Erik revealed his respect for David Moyes and our opponents, passed on his congratulations to Casemiro and explained why he felt so compelled to write an open letter to the Reds fans in the wake of our Wembley triumph...

Matchday Q&A | Ten Hag on West Ham (H) Video

Matchday Q&A | Ten Hag on West Ham (H)

Erik asks that the fans transmit energy to his players during our FA Cup tie with West Ham...

Erik, congratulations again on winning the Carabao Cup but is that gone now and the focus firmly on what’s next, starting with West Ham? How quickly can you turn the players around to be ready for this game?
“It’s our job, it is their job, so we don’t allow them to stay in the mood from Sunday. Sunday is the history. It’s nice, memories, but if you want to perform, you have to focus on the things you have to do. You have to focus on the job.”

West Ham had a morale-boosting win over Nottingham Forest at the weekend - how big a test do you expect them to provide?
“It’s a good team, a really decent team with a good manager, so he has always a good plan. So we have to be aware of that. We have to make it our game and then you have to be 100 per cent. When you don’t give the 100 per cent, it won’t be good enough.”

Was there any wear and tear or bumps and bruises coming out of the game at Wembley or did we come through unscathed?
“Always there are bruises and knocks. That is football. It’s physical, also you have to recover from that.”
Casemiro was in France last night to pick up his award for being in the FIFPro Team of the Year - and he was Man of the Match at Wembley - we know he is a world-class player but does this confirm he is so?
“Yeah, of course, I think we are so proud of him. I think he showed how important he is and how he contributes to our team - in the dressing room, not only on the pitch. He is important, everyone can see that, but also around to construct the climate which is necessary to win trophies, and he is showing by example the squad all the example on Sunday. And it’s great to work with him. We are so happy with that, it’s a big reward, I’m so happy for him to be rewarded to be in the World Team of the Year. That is really a reward and so wonderful.”

He’s a winner and you’ve spoken about his winning mentality and that of others here, and the team is tough and resilient, so how important are those attributes?
“It’s part [of football] if you want to be successful and if you want to be successful, it demands a lot, that demands a lot of high standards and a lot of determination. It demands always sacrificing and suffering. It’s not going without because this is football; when you go to the limits, you feel pain. You have to deal with that pain. When you celebrate, you forget all the pain.”
One of the things we noticed post-match on Sunday was you chatting with the young players afterwards when they were enjoying being part of the celebrations and learning from the older players. So is the message to Kobbie Mainoo and the other youngsters, that this is what the future has in store for you if you keep working hard?
“First of all, they have taken part in it because they deserve to be there but also the message is that they get the experience, how it is, and in the previous question you asked me, I said about sacrificing and suffering. When you celebrate, you forget everything. That is the best feeling you can have so they have to get in that attitude to collect trophies, to be in that winning approach, you have to do a lot, invest a lot, give everything, every day, to collect that.”

Your open letter was very well received by the fans - why did you feel it was important to reach out to them like that?
“Because we are together and, of course, the players have always, on the pitch, to give the right message. Every game again. If we do that, we notice that the fans come back to the pitch, they answer it with their energy. Then you get the bond, it’s very strong in this moment but we have to keep that and make it even stronger, then it can help us to be a great team and it can help us make Manchester United even bigger than we already are.”