Every word from Ten Hag's post-match press conference

Saturday 09 December 2023 18:41

Erik ten Hag was honest in his assessment of Manchester United's performance against Bournemouth, when he spoke to the media after Saturday's 3-0 defeat.

The Reds conceded an early goal to Dominic Solanke and, though there was plenty of endeavour on show from the home side, Bournemouth were able to sit back, soak up pressure and hit us on the break.

The boss admitted his squad need to become more consistent and ready for the rigours of Premier League games from the first whistle, every week.

Here's a full transcript of his post-match press conference with reporters in the media room at Old Trafford...

Ten Hag's post-match press conference Video

Ten Hag's post-match press conference

See what Erik ten Hag said to reporters in his post-match press conference...

Erik, when you walked off at the final whistle, you looked pretty annoyed. Can you sum up your feelings at the end of the game?

“Of course I’m disappointed – definitely I expected something different. I hoped before the game we could build on the performance and result against Chelsea. So I’m very disappointed about the way we started the game. We did for a long time everything to get back in the game. We had one [warning] shot, almost a penalty [to Bournemouth], then in the build-up we made a mistake and we were not good enough in defence. We put a lot of effort in to return in the game but the brilliance and the movement in the box were not there to get the equaliser. After 2-0 we broke down so we have to do things better.”

It felt like the lowest moment of the season, so how do you get the guys to reset ahead of what is a crucial week in your season?

“As I say, the way we started was no good – it was poor in the first five minutes of the game, especially against an opponent like today, a very good transition team. We gave them the perfect circumstances so it shouldn’t happen. We did everything to return in the game, we had a lot of attacks, but we didn’t get to a point to return in the game, though we had opportunities.”


So often this season you seem to take one step forward and two back. How do you explain being so accomplished on Wednesday against Chelsea to then produce a performance as abject as that a few days later?

"That is the question but we have to always be ready for the game. So I have to take responsibility for that as I have to prepare the team to be ready for the game. From my point of view, I’m very disappointed with the way we started so I have to do things better."

In fairness, though, once the players go over that line, you can’t run for them – they have to be ready to start the game. It’s the ninth time this season in all competitions you’ve conceded in the first half-hour and you’ve been behind in half your Premier League games. So they don’t seem to be ready to start matches too often this season…

"We are really inconsistent. We have the abilities to do it but you have to do it in every game."

It’s twice now this season that supporters have cheered Anthony Martial being substituted. He’s not completed 90 minutes in the Premier League for three years, he’s got 18 goals in the Premier League for the club. It seems like the fans have lost confidence in him. How can he continue playing for you?

"Two weeks ago, against Everton, he played a very good game. He has the competencies and the abilities to play so I don’t think it’s fair after a performance like this to go to one player. As a group, we failed all together."

Erik: We have to take responsibility together


The United manager expresses his disappointment after his side's defeat to Bournemouth.

Bruno will be suspended after a yellow card and will miss Liverpool. Is that worse than losing this match?

"The worst thing is to lose the match."

You talk about being inconsistent and you often talk about elite football. Isn’t the definition of elite football, and being an elite team, being consistent? So the fact that you’re inconsistent – are the players not good enough to be that consistent, elite team that you want?

"I think as a squad we are not good enough to be consistent and we have to work as a squad to improve that."

How can you trust this group of players because from one week to the next, it’s so different? So on any given day, how can you trust that they’re going to perform or not?

"As a group we have to improve and in fact we have to get tougher, so we are ready for the game from the start. I said it on Friday: in this league, it can’t be that you are not playing at the highest levels because you will get killed. That is what happened in the first five minutes and then you are following facts, especially against them, such a good transition team. And you made life easy for them – it was the perfect conditions for them to play in. You see the team fighting, battling, for a long period, to return in the game. But it can’t happen that you so easily concede a goal."