Erik encourages on-field debate

Thursday 04 May 2023 07:00

Erik ten Hag admits he wants his Manchester United players to show leadership on the pitch and debate any issues that crop up.

During his exclusive pre-match Q&A with club media, ahead of the game against Brighton & Hove Albion, we asked the Reds boss about the discussion between Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes at the end of the win over Aston Villa.

The experienced pair were deep in heated conversation, as they had been at the climax of the Carabao Cup final victory over Newcastle United, with the Brazilian explaining he felt the goalscorer should have kept possession in the dying seconds at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag, who believes it will be a "battle" at the Amex Stadium, had his say on the subject while previewing this evening's outing, speaking to MUTV's Mark Sullivan...

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

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

Erik explains that United are energised and fully focused ahead of our Premier League meeting with Brighton tonight...

After beating Aston Villa, we play another European challenger in Brighton - how important is it that we get a win down there?
“Very important. It’s going to be a huge battle. We have to get ready for that so we are in preparation, fully focused, full of energy and going into the battle.”

Is there any update on the squad? Will the likes of Garnacho, [Scott] McTominay and [Raphael] Varane be available any time soon?
“I think they are all in a good way. They are returning but they are not ready for tomorrow’s game.”

It was great to see Alejandro get a new contract – how much have you been impressed by his development and how much more is there still to come?
“There has to be a lot more to come and he finalised his youth, he is now in. Now he has to compete for the jersey, for the starting-XI jersey. It’s another challenge for him, another test and then you have to act. You have to perform every day and, especially, every game.”

Our shortlist for April’s Player of the Month includes Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes so does that show how well those three have done?
“Well, more have done very well but those, in particular, I agree.”

Casemiro and Bruno [Fernandes] had a bit of a discussion at the end of the game about game management. Is this something you encourage from your senior players, to show those qualities on the pitch?
“Yeah, of course. They have to communicate. They have to organise it and make sure we get a win. So when they are talking to each other, in discussion, debating with each other, I don’t have a problem with that. It shows the willingness and showed ambition from this team.”

Finally, Jimmy Murphy is being honoured with the unveiling of his statue at the Stretford End. How important is he to the history of this club and how important is it that his immense contribution is recognised in this way?
“I think he stands for a lot of symbols in this club so it’s totally deserved, this honour. He’s a symbol of resilience, determination and, especially, a symbol of youth development.”