Ten Hag: We'll need our best against Dyche's Everton

Saturday 09 March 2024 08:00

Erik ten Hag has urged his Manchester United players to focus on the future, as the Reds look to respond to last weekend's derby defeat in Saturday's lunchtime Premier League game with Everton.

The boss admitted both he and the squad were particularly disappointed to lose to Manchester City at the Etihad, but explained that he preferred to look forward to the huge games coming up at Old Trafford.

The Reds take on Sean Dyche's Everton in the Premier League today (12:30 GMT) and then welcome the Toffees' neighbours, Liverpool, in the quarter-final of the FA Cup next Sunday.

When Erik sat down with club media's Mark Sullivan for his customary pre-match chat, he discussed the positives and negatives from the derby, Everton's qualities and how Old Trafford can help swing the next two games in our favour...
Matchday Q&A: Erik on Everton (H) Video

Matchday Q&A: Erik on Everton (H)

The boss shares his pre-match thoughts ahead of a critical fixture in United's Premier League season...

Erik, what's the response been like in training this week following the defeat to City on the weekend?
“We are very disappointed in every game we lose, but especially when you lose against City. But we also have to admit that we did what we could. We gave everything and there were really small margins, when Rashy is through and we go for the second goal, Garna is getting through and going for the second goal to make it 2-1. Then we concede, in the same moments, the 1-1 and the 2-1 behind. That's very disappointing, because also we had some other chances in the game to get the 2-0. But we lost and we lost against a very good City side. We have to admit this as well. But we are, of course, disappointed when you lose such a game. But you have to keep going and go with focus to the next game.”
You had to withdraw Jonny Evans and Marcus Rashford in that game. How is their fitness? Are there any other updates on the squad?
“They are back in training so that is very good. I'm very happy, of course, with this, that they are available. Omari Forson dropped out, unfortunately, and the rest we have the same squad as last week against Manchester City.”
At City, it was really good to see Martinez and Rasmus Hojlund in the group, just being involved. Was it good to see them back in the group again and how close are they to potentially returning to training?
“They are always part of the group. Injured players are part of our dressing room; are part of driving the team, driving the team spirit. They always can, in a particular way, support the team. It's not only those players, [but] also others will do that and will do that continually, which is good. So we are always together and we keep together.”
Hojlund reflects on fabulous February Video

Hojlund reflects on fabulous February

Exclusive interview | Rasmus Hojlund reviews his February, naming his best goal and giving a fitness update…

Rasmus won the Premier League Player of the Month for February. How deserving is he of that award, and how impressed have you been with his performances?
“It's fantastic. Yeah, he had a difficult first half of the season in the Premier League, but scored many goals in the Champions League. He was disappointed that it took a long time before he could get his first [league] goal. And after his first goal he made many and he was in a very good flow. So he has to pick that up once he's returning and I'm sure he will do. But this prize will help him; it will be supportive of this and will push him even more.”
We play Everton at the weekend. How do you assess where they are right now as a club?
“I think Sean Dyche is doing a great job. From the moment he came in last season, to build the foundation, he made a very fit team. You see his style is really handwritten [on the team] and that particular style. They are playing well so I think we have to play our best again to get the right result.”
90 in 20: Everton v United Video

90 in 20: Everton v United

90 in 20 | Watch extended highlights from the Reds' trip to Goodison Park here...

You had a really good result at their place, and actually you've won all three of your Premier League meetings with Everton. Is this game very different to the other three, or do those give you extra confidence when you go into a game like this?
“I never compare [with] any previous game, because [there are] different circumstances, different players, everything is different. So don't point to history; it's about the future and looking forward. We know we have to give our best performance tomorrow.”
Finally, our form at Old Trafford has been a little bit up and down, unlike last season when we were exceptional at Old Trafford. So how can we make it more consistent and what kind of things that we need to do to have that strength at Old Trafford again?
“I think that all has to do with the bigger picture of the season. But I'm sure there are coming up many big games for this season, so Old Trafford has to be ready. We have to be ready, and we have to do that, and that is the most important thing: togetherness. There is a strong, big crowd, a big voice, that makes an impact on the opponent, that's going to lead to intimidation of that opponent, to get the right results.”