Erik: We're back where we belong
Erik ten Hag says that returning to the Champions League is an 'important step' for Manchester United, after he successfully guided the club back to where it 'belongs'.
United sealed a place in the Premier League's top four with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Chelsea on Thursday evening, with goals from Casemiro, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford putting the result beyond doubt.
Erik was understandably satisfied after the important victory, but cited the need for further development from his side, as he continues to mould the Reds in his image.
The boss spoke to various media outlets in the aftermath of the fixture, and you can read below the best of his responses...
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BACK WHERE WE BELONG
"It’s really important [to finish in the top four]. This club belongs in the Champions League and it’s not so easy in the Premier League. It’s a tough competition, strong, with a lot of teams competing for that. And we made it, so we make a good season."
END TO END
"It was an open game. I think they are already preparing for next season so they were quite relaxed with an open mind. It’s always difficult to play against and they created chances but also gave away a lot of spaces on the break. To be fair, we should have scored more goals. It’s not my game, it’s too open. We have to defend better and not allow them so many chances. And also, in the breaks, we should have scored more. We could be much better but, of course, in the end, we don’t complain about that. We are in the top four and that is the most important [thing] tonight, it’s a big compliment for everyone here in this club."
SPIRITS ARE HIGH
"I am comfortable here. But I remember after the second game, Brentford, it was tough. But, yeah, I think we construct a team, it's a good spirit. We work very good in the training pitch and we get results. We are improving and I think we are in the right direction and we know we are still not there where we want to be, but we are back in the Champions League. That was, I think, a really important step. We had to do it because if you want to be successful, you have to be in the Champions League."
"Defensive organisation was better [in the] second half. [We were] more compact [and made] better decisions. First half we had problems. They came in between the lines. But be fair, they play without pressure and they could go forward and you could see that. It's always difficult playing against a team like this. Of course they want to win, but they were also open. But then you have to strike them and you have to take advantage from the spaces you get. And we didn't always. [The] second goal was late in the first half, [it] could have been earlier."
SUNDAY REMAINS IMPORTANT
"It's important, Sunday, we still can be third in the league. It's important to keep [our] focus [and] not get injuries as well. So it gives us good goals for Sunday. But also get a [new] home record, in the history [of United], we can get that. So it's going to be an important game. We want to win that game."
"So I think this is my job to be involved. So, yeah, we have to work on the squad a bit. You already said it and next week [is] going to be big and huge, and we will do everything in our power. It's not [going to] be easy, but yeah, we have to get well-prepared and give us the best chance to get that cup. We have a great opportunity and you don't get such opportunities so often. And then, of course, we are working in the background. Then we go through next season, but that's far away."