Every word from Erik’s pre-Tottenham press conference: Part 2
You can now see every word from the second part of Erik ten Hag’s press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur.
After the first section of the media briefing went out earlier today, you can now see the rest of that meeting, and more from Erik, following this evening’s 22:30 BST embargo.
Ten Hag was asked about Bruno Fernandes’s performances, contract situations and his team’s early-season progress.
Read the manager’s answers to those questions and everything else from the latter segment by scrolling down…
Part two: Ten Hag's Tottenham press conference
Press conference | In part two, Ten Hag discusses goals, Bruno's form, De Gea's future, player contracts and more...
“I think Rashy [Marcus Rashford] scored five goals out of 11, Antony wasn’t involved in the first games but scored three in his first four appearances, Jadon Sancho scored three goals, Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals, [Anthony] Martial, don’t forget him, he scored also three goals. So, I think we have players who can be productive, so that matter of fact is not a real concern.”
But do you need more goals from midfield? Because I think Bruno has got one in 13, I don’t think anyone else has got any goals, if I’m right…
“Yeah but I think Bruno is playing really good this season, so I can see in that fact, he can produce more goals, assists. But I think he’s often in the line of the goal and he’s playing a massive role in a lot of moments of football for us: in building up attacks, creativity, movement, but also in transitions, in both sides, in the defensive transitions he’s magnificent and doing a really good job so I’m really happy with his performances.”
“We didn’t make a decision on him but what I can say is I’m really happy with David De Gea as a ‘keeper. The first two games of the season were not his best performances but after it, you see he brings us a lot for the defence, the defensive department, he gives stability and, as a person also, I like him. I can cooperate really well with him but first we go to the winter and then we will talk about how we deal with situations.”
And does that apply with the other players? I think Marcus Rashford, Diogo Dalot, Fred, there are some other players that are out of contract in the summer but you’ve got extension options on them – will those decisions also be made in the winter?
“In this moment, we only think about performing, we have a lot of games to go so I don’t want to get interfered by talks, we have to focus on football, on performances and not negotiating, so that’s what we’ll do now.”
You said about Antonio Conte putting a mark on his teams, what is that mark in your view that he puts on his teams?
“Really well organised, in and out of possession, in an intense way.”
“He ignored the opinion, you have all seen. We have seen. Once again, we accept it and we keep on going.”
There was a suggestion about a year ago that you possibly spoke to Tottenham about taking their job before this job came up, was that ever close to happening at all?
“I will never talk about interest or what else, it’s also not interesting. I’m here and I’m happy to be here and I want to get the best out of here.”
It’s obviously a massive job coming to Manchester United, you’re now 12/13/14 games in and I know you’ll always want more, you’re a perfectionist, but are you happy with where the team is so far at the start of your time here?
“Yeah. I’m a person that’s never satisfied, I’m happy to be here but I’m not satisfied with where we are, but I also know that I’m a little bit impatient. I know that good is not good enough, we have to do better and I see many things we can do better. But also, I see improvement, so I think when we keep going in this process, we will improve further and the results will be even better.”
But being realistic, considering you bought five or six players in, the team bond last season, could you expect any better league position really than fifth?
“I think that’s a good question and there are obviously many problems, we have to integrate many players. We still have to deal with some problems in [the] offence from the start: Cristiano Ronaldo not being available at the start of the season, Anthony Martial he has almost not been on the pitch, I think he didn’t play one full game yet. So, I’m sure, that will be better [than] when your two number nines are not there. When they are present and fit, in a good competitive shape, then I think results from the team will improve.”
“It’s something from the head, some players get motivated when they play for a contract if you mean that, but it’s not that. Why we handle it like this is we want to restore Man United, we want to develop the squad, develop the team, bring everything to a better level. We work on the way we play, we work on the culture and we need, of course, quality players who are highly motivated. Such players, we are looking for, and luckily, we have them in the squad and I am quite happy with the squad, the way they work, the motivation, they all have [it], and I think the cooperation is quite good.”
Just coming back to Bruno, he’s worn the captain’s armband when Harry [Maguire]’s not played, have you been impressed with how he’s led the team on the pitch?
“That’s also one of the things [he’s impressed me with], I think he’s really an example. The way he transfers the way of play from us, how he motivates around him, how he is the example, so the energy he gives to the team, that’s really good and so I’m happy with his performance. I know it will come, his goals and assists, and it will be even more.”
You’ve said you’re never 100 per cent satisfied, do you see that in Bruno as well, and the way he approaches the game?
“Yes, I see that.”