Ten Hag: You have to be ready for the next battle

Saturday 09 December 2023 08:00

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag says his side must build on the positive platform of Wednesday's victory against Chelsea, when we take on Bournemouth in the Premier League this afternoon.

The Old Trafford fixture will be the Reds fifth outing in just under a fortnight since the November international break, with the clash presenting the chance to follow up on our 2-1 win over Chelsea last time out.

Andoni Iraola's side will provide challenging opposition however, with the Cherries unbeaten in their last four encounters, boasting wins over both Newcastle United and Crystal Palace within that time frame.

Ahead of the 15:00 GMT kick-off, the boss spoke exclusively to club media and below, you can read, and watch, everything he had to say when speaking to MUTV's Mark Sullivan...
Matchday Q&A: Ten Hag on Bournemouth (H) Video

Matchday Q&A: Ten Hag on Bournemouth (H)

Matchday Q&A | Erik credits the squad for United's awards hat-trick, as we prepare for the Cherries' visit to M16...

Erik, [it was a] great game on Wednesday. A really enjoyable match and a great win as well. Is that the level of performance you're looking for every week? 
“Three times a week!”

That's true. You got so many games, so three times a week. If that's what you want! 
“Yeah of course. We always want to do things better and good is not good enough. We have always met the standards and we set a high standard. So we have to measure it and we have to raise those standards.”

Bournemouth are in good form and have impressed by beating the likes of Newcastle, Palace away from home most recently. So what are you expecting from them?
“As you say they are in very good form and it's a very constructive team with good players. So we have to play our best and they are, as you see in the Premier League, everyone is killing everyone. So you have to be ready for the next battle and you don't have much time to prepare for it. But you have to do it as a team and as an individual. Everyone has to be ready. You can't do it with 11 players, but all the 11 players on the pitch, you have to be ready and when you come on, you have to be ready.”
It seems to have taken their manager, Andoni Iraola, a little while to settle, probably because the Premier League is so tough. Do you feel like he's starting to get to grips with it a little bit?
“His side is progressing and I think it's quite normal in the season. I think that also says something about a good manager, when maybe at the start of the season you have to get your philosophy and your tactics in. But once you [are up and] running in the season and you go forward, you start to step up. That tells you something about his skills and so he is doing a very good job.”

What’s the latest team news for us? I know Victor [Lindelof] came off at half-time in the week, for example?
“He is, for tomorrow, not available.”

Any news on [Raphael] Varane? Is he back in because he missed the game in midweek?
“I expect him tomorrow to be in [the squad].”

Otherwise pretty much the same squad?

“Pretty much the same squad, yes.”
Harry [Maguire] has been named the Premier League Player of the Month for November, only the third United centre-back to win the award, actually. But how deserving is he of that?
“I think he deserves it a lot. We know he had a tough year last season, but he kept fighting and he fought himself back in the team and I think he's playing excellent. He's leading the team and he is defending very well. I think he's very proactive in and out of possession, so he deserves it. Absolutely. As you say, only the third, so that tells you something. I don't think defenders, very often, get this award. So it says absolutely something about his great form and about his character as well.”

Ferdinand and Vidic the other two, so he's in good company. [Alejandro] Garnacho was Goal of the Month. I mean, that was probably Goal of the Season. It was so good. But also deserving of Goal of the Month for sure?
“I said it straight after the game that it was goal of the year, but you don't know what’s going to happen! So Garnacho has to show hungriness and go for more goals. But this one, it was a great one, absolutely. But it was also a team goal and I think that shows, as we won three awards. I think it also refers to something we are doing as a team and that's very good. It is something we can take belief from. We can also take inspiration from it and believe that we are heading in the right direction. That must now give energy to everyone.”

Amad returns to training


Our Ivory Coast international has worked with the first-team squad at Carrington.

Finally. Last, but by no means at least, because you mentioned three awards. I was going to come to yours finally. Manager of the Month. How does it feel to win that award? Is there a particular performance in November which stood out for you?
“No, but I think what stands out is the way we are working. It stands out the way we are developing and progressing. But in the month of November, in terms of the season, you win nothing. We have to now keep this process going so from here, and at the weekend, we can build on.”

Good luck at the weekend and hopefully more Manager of the Month awards to come, boss...
“I am looking for wins, not for Manager of the Month.”