Ten Hag: We now have a quality squad
Manchester United are back in action on Thursday evening as we travel to Leicester City for our fifth Premier League game of the season.
United are on the hunt for a third victory on the bounce, having won our last two against Liverpool and Southampton. Erik ten Hag wants to keep the momentum going and has emphasised the need to win every game.
In his exclusive matchday interview with club media, Ten Hag discusses how the squad is shaping up, the signing of Antony, and provides key updates on the team ahead of our 20:00 BST kick-off at the King Power Stadium.
You can read the Q&A in full below…
After back-to-back league wins, how important is it to keep that run going against Leicester?
"It’s quite clear, of course, we have to win every game. You go from game to game and, of course, we also want to develop a process and keep improving that process. But you have to win your games so we have to keep going."
"Victor Lindelof started with the team training [on Tuesday] so we have to see how he is and also look at the squad and what we need. Anthony Martial is not available. It will be at least one week and maybe a little bit longer."
We announced a fee had been agreed with Antony this week. You know him from Ajax, of course – so what’s the relationship like between you?
"We signed him the first time he was in Europe and we supported him to find his way. From the first moment, he really impressed in terms of his football qualities and as a person. He’s a fighter and someone who has a real willingness to win games, I like that. He showed that from the first moment in Amsterdam, from the first game with the winning goal. That is what he always contributes to the team – a fighting spirit who makes actions and I expect the same from him here in Manchester."
"He’s a player with a winning mentality and someone who is creative. He likes to dribble, he sees the final pass, he can score a goal and I think the fans will be excited by him and the way he plays his game."
How do you view the squad now which is looking strong and full of quality – is it shaping up to what you wanted to see here?
"We want to compete with the best clubs and we want to win every game so you need a good squad. A squad that also has competition in but also during the season you have injuries, suspensions and loss of form so then you need substitutes to fill in the role. You need quality and I think now we have a squad which has the quality."
Against Liverpool and Southampton, we’ve seen our defenders celebrating blocks, challenges and clearances with great passion, almost as if they’ve scored themselves. Does it please you to see how proud they are to keep those clean sheets and is that a good base to build from going forward?
"Definitely. First of all as an individual, it’s a signal of spirit, but it’s also a signal of co-operation and togetherness about how they act and face situations. That gives me pleasure that the players have joy in such moments and that their decisions together are succeeding. It’s very good [to see]."
"When he’s nominated for Player of the Month that tells you the story already. He has fitted in very good to Manchester United and English football, but still there is a long way to go [for him and] for everyone. There is still space for improvement, but that is how he is, he is never satisfied and always wants to be better and I hope this nomination will motivate him."
This is the first full season in England where five substitutions have been available to managers. Does having that choice keep you on your toes and thinking constantly about how to alter things during a game?
"That’s my advantage because in the Eredivisie and in Europe, it’s allowed and I think it’s good. You can involve more players in matches and players are happier. There is also a disadvantage because you take players off that are less happy when they come off! But we have to cover so many games so it gives you a chance to manage the squad and to manage to [get] better results."