Erik ten Hag

Ten Hag: We need to show character

Sunday 23 April 2023 10:27

Erik ten Hag has called on his Manchester United players to ‘show some character’ ahead of our Emirates FA Cup semi-final with Brighton on Sunday.

The Dutchman will be looking for a response to Thursday’s Europa League exit at the hands of Sevilla, in which the Reds were beaten 3-0 in the away leg. 

We’ve shown our ability to bounce back from defeats through the current campaign, and Ten Hag will be looking for a similar reaction at Wembley. 

In his usual matchday Q&A with club media, the boss discusses what he wants from his players, the return of Bruno Fernandes, and more, below… 
Matchday Q&A: Ten Hag previews Brighton Video

Matchday Q&A: Ten Hag previews Brighton

Erik discusses the return of Bruno Fernandes, team news, and more ahead of our FA Cup semi-final...

Erik, we are now in London, preparing for the FA Cup semi-final and we've seen the team bounce back from disappointments this season. How great is it to have such a big game to bounce back in?
''The team showed character on several occasions this season, so we believe they can do it again. We have to do it again because of course we are not happy [about the Sevilla game], we were really disappointed and frustrated with our performance and level as this is not our standard. We want to act.''
What do you want to see from your players at Wembley?

''First of all, bring your own performance. We will make a good plan and from there on, [try and] execute it. Then you have to manage the game and anticipate if the opponent can do different stuff. You have to anticipate these things and deal with the circumstances, make it your game. We can play football and we have shown this so many times, we beat all the big teams in the Premier League. We know we can do it but, in the moment, you have to do it.''
I know it is probably too early to say on team news but are there any updates? It must be great to have Marcus and Luke back after a few games out of action?
''Yes. It is so difficult to say as we just returned from Seville, we are now in training and we will do the recovery, we have some treatments and I think later in the night we will have more news but I have to wait. It looks not that bad so that is something.''
Bruno Fernandes will be available again and he is a man who is in great form...
''He is. You can see how important he is for this group. He is bringing the energy; he is the example, and he is a leader. We are happy that he is back.''
What are you expecting from Brighton who have had a very exciting season?
''They have, they play good football, decent football and they have a good idea on how to play. But as I said, we have to make it our game and we are looking forward as it was a great pleasure to analyse them. It was also a pleasure to find some issues against them so we will give our best and I think that is what everyone can expect from us. It is not what we did [on Thursday], but it is what we have to do in every occasion, especially when you are playing in the semi-final of an FA Cup.''
Training highlights: Bruno's back Video

Training highlights: Bruno's back

Training highlights | Here's another chance to watch our pre-match session in London before the FA Cup semi-final...

We have already enjoyed a very memorable day at Wembley this season. What can the players draw from that day to take into this game?
''It is only that we have the experience, to play in that ambience. For the rest, it is nothing because it is a new game and we have to prove ourselves again. This is what you have to do and for our routine, you have to do this in every game, every game is a test. You have to earn the shirt of Manchester United and that is how you must go into every game, and you need the team. Therefore, you have to stick together as a team and stick to the plan and then we will have a great chance of winning.''
Finally, Erik we are obviously in a great position in the race for the top four, but the focus is on the cup now. How important is it to cement that cup final place?
''It would be great. I don’t think so many players are in the position to achieve [playing in an] FA Cup final. Even not in this group of players and it is a great opportunity so take that opportunity.''