Ten Hag: Let's get the job done against Chelsea

Thursday 25 May 2023 07:00

Erik ten Hag's determination to drive Manchester United back into the Champions League permeated through his penultimate pre-match Q&A for this Premier League season, with the objective now tantalisingly in reach.

The manager believes home advantage could help us in our 37th and 38th league games but for now he's only focused on the first of those and wary of this evening's visitors Chelsea, after watching them restrict newly-crowned champions Manchester City to a narrow 1-0 win last Sunday.

As you can read below or see in our video, we began our interview on Wednesday afternoon with a question about Marcus Rashford's readiness to feature against Frank Lampard's side after missing our last two victories over Wolves and Bournemouth...
Matchday Q&A | Ten Hag on Chelsea (H) Video

Matchday Q&A | Ten Hag on Chelsea (H)

Erik updates us on Marcus Rashford, assesses Frank Lampard's side and rates Aaron Wan-Bissaka's resurgence...

How's the squad looking, Erik? Is Marcus fully fit and ready to play?
"Yesterday [Tuesday] he was on the pitch. He trained well and we'll see today how he recovered from it. So I think we are in a pretty good place. Of course we still have injuries, long-term ones, but we have a squad and we will deal with it."

Will you look to rotate your squad a little, given that we've got two games in three days and then an FA Cup final?
"That first game is the most important and we have two games in three days. It's tough and it's a slight disadvantage probably as well. But we have to get this done and the team has to be ready, focused with energy, but also in togetherness with the fans. We have such a great focus and we construct together that bond between the fans and the players. We have to make sure we get this done. Get the job done and be in the Champions League."

Given that both of our final two league games are at home, where we've been so strong with that great backing, is that an important advantage going into these two games?

"Absolutely. And we feel really comfortable. It's our home, it's our fortress. We create a vibe in the stadium and I expect it in the coming two games as well. But let's go for it tomorrow. We have to get the job done."
It's a very different Chelsea to the team we faced at Stamford Bridge in October. So what are you expecting to have changed from that game when I think we deserved to win but ended up getting a point with that late Casimiro header?
"It's the past, a long time ago. We know they have great players, so it's a difficult job, and we have to do a difficult task. But we have belief. We are convinced we can do it if we have the right plan, the right attitude from the players and the right team spirit. [If we have those], we will do it."

Frank Lampard will be in the opposition dugout, someone you have faced twice this season with Everton. Is there anything you can take at all from games against his teams that can help prepare you for this one?

"We know Frank Lampard always prepares his teams very well and we have seen that when we faced Everton twice. Also last weekend against Man City, he did a great job. I think when you saw the game, a draw was justified. He didn't get it, but they played very well and we know we have to play our best level if we want to get the right result."

Finally, we previously asked you about potential players for the Player of the season award. In The Debate show this week, Ben Thornley picked out Aaron Wan-Bissaka as an alternative. How impressed have you been with his performances since the World Cup, both defending and attacking?
"He has improved a lot, as many players have improved during the season. That's one of the jobs for a manager and the coaching staff, to get that done [improve players] and we are really happy with it, that players are developing. Always the team spirit is the base and if players understand that, if they can set their egos aside, then you will see that the team develops and progresses. And then within the team's progress, individuals make a lot of progress and Aaron is definitely one of them."