Ten Hag's Melbourne press conference: Every word

Thursday 14 July 2022 05:32

Every pre-season game - including Melbourne Victory (11:05 BST Friday 15 July) - will be shown live on MUTV, now available in our app and on ManUtd.com.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag fielded questions on Harry Maguire's fitness and Donny van de Beek's best position, among other topics, when he spoke to the media in Melbourne around midday local time on Thursday.

The new manager was speaking at a press conference to preview Friday's Tour 2022 game against Melbourne Victory, live on MUTV, and he was joined there by Marcus Rashford who declared he is feeling refreshed and already benefiting from a full pre-season schedule.

You can watch our video of the full event below, and also read every quote from Ten Hag...

How seriously are you taking these games even though it's pre-season?

"It's pre-season but in football you play to win. So in the end it's always important, winning. But of course in this pre-season we also have to develop our team so that is also a very big target for the game."

How close to full strength will you be?
"Our squad? We are full, full capacity. We have a strong squad so the fans will be happy."
Press conference in full | United v Victory Video

Press conference in full | United v Victory

Erik ten Hag and Marcus Rashford spoke to the media at Melbourne's AAMI Park, ahead of our second tour game...

What can you take from this game against Melbourne Victory?
"We are happy with this game because it is different opposition. It is always good to play against different opposition, with different culture and it will be a different approach. From Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, we know what we can expect. From Melbourne Victory, it will be different. I think they play in a good level and they are second in the league last year so they will have a strong squad and also I think the coach is familiar with top football. So we are looking forward to this game, it's going to be a good test."

Can you update us on Harry Maguire?

"Yes, tomorrow he is available. We will see but I think he can play half a game."
We saw some of what you have been working on at the training ground in the Liverpool game. I'm wondering what kind of tactics you are going to deploy this season and whether the players are responding to what you wanted from them, including in the midfield?
"From every area of the team, I want productivity. That's the most important thing, that players take the initiative on and off the ball, in offense and defence."

Jurgen Klopp said his team struggled against your man-marking system. Can you tell us about that?
"I wouldn't say that we play man marking. At a certain moment we play man marking. We want to press, we want to press all day and play proactive football. Sometimes we can do that high but if not possible, we have to read it as a team and drop lower. But we want to press and that has to be the intention all day."

Zidane Iqbal impressed against Liverpool. What did you make of his performance and the players coming through from the Academy?
"I have said it before, Manchester United has huge potential. Really good players, experienced players but also a lot of young guys, young boys who have a lot of potential. We have to get the potential out so now we have to work really hard. Man United is famous about it and Marcus Rashford here is I think a symbol of the Academy of Manchester United and more upcoming talents who come after."
Training highlights: Day one in Melbourne Video

Training highlights: Day one in Melbourne

Training highlights | Tour 2022 keeps rolling! See what went down in the Reds' first session in Melbourne, Australia...

Have you had chance to see Melbourne and the area? What are your first impressions?
"We haven't been able to see much yet. We came down here and we were in the hotel. It was a long journey out of Thailand but we see a fantastic city and you smell the sports culture."

Where do you see Donny van de Beek playing, as one of the two deeper midfielders or higher up as a number ten?
"He can do both. I know that from the past. But his best position, his best capability is in the box of the opponent. Playing short behind the striker, he has a really good smell of being in the right position."

Jadon Sancho looked really comfortable on the ball against Liverpool, and we saw him on the right side as well. Are you looking to deploy him from there?
"I was really happy to see that. I think we have a good left side but I think you see against Liverpool that we also have attacks on the right side and it was good to see it because you want to have balance. If you are only on one side it is quite predictable so we want that to develop over two sides but also in the middle and from everywhere."
Does Eric Bailly's performance against Liverpool give you a selection headache?
"No, it doesn't give me a headache. I am happy. We need a full squad for the coming season with a lot of games. In the middle there's a World Cup so we need a really full squad with a lot of competition between the players so we push each other to a higher level."

Fans in Australia would love to have seen Cristiano Ronaldo play on this tour. Can you give us an update on him?
"We made a statement and nothing has changed."

Get MUTV to watch Melbourne Victory v United live on Friday 15 July. Coverage starts at 10:00 BST.