Every word from Ten Hag's press conference

Tuesday 19 September 2023 18:45

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag addressed sections of the media at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday, in advance of Wednesday's UEFA Champions League group-stage clash against Bayern Munich.

Having landed in Munich ahead of the encounter, Erik provided updates on a range of topics, including Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford and new summer signing Rasmus Hojlund.

Joined by goalkeeper Andre Onana along the way for pre-match media duties, Ten Hag will be keen for his side to bounce back following defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League last time out.

Below you can both read and watch everything the boss said in his press conference previewing Wednesday's mouthwatering fixture...
Press conference v Bayern Munich Video

Press conference v Bayern Munich

Press conference | See how Erik ten Hag and Andre Onana answered the media's questions at the Allianz Arena...

Harry Maguire is not here, no Raphael Varane or Mason Mount. With Varane and Mount, was it a case of they wasn't quite ready enough to play and with Harry, did he get an injury in training this morning?
“[Harry] had some complaints and we have to see how bad it is. So he finished training but it was not good enough to travel.”

On the injury front, is it a concern you are picking up so many injuries, this early in the season? I think you have twelve players unavailable for the game tomorrow night? Nine of them being injury related...
“It is a concern but we knew that before. That's why we constructed the squad with that [in mind]. We can deal with it and the squad can deal with it.”

Hi Erik, Bayern Munich signed Harry Kane this summer, and you signed Rasmus Hojlund. What was the thinking signing potential over a proven goalscorer, like Harry Kane? It has had an immediate impact obviously here at Bayern and do you think that was the right decision by the club?
“I think we discussed it in San Diego. I don't think we have to repeat this debate. We are happy with Rasmus [Hojlund]. Obviously in the first games he was injured. He [has] played now against Arsenal and now he has had his first start. Now, of course, have to integrate him into the team. But you can see he is a big talent and he will contribute to our game. We are quite confident about that.”

No regrets about not signing Harry Kane?


Hi Erik, you were with Bayern's second team for two years and I would like to know how much influence does this time at Bayern now have on the way you work at Manchester United and how strong is the connection to Bayern so many years later?
“It was great for me, yes. I really enjoyed it here and I liked the mentality from Bayern. The region as well, but especially the club. We had great years, the first year especially we were champions and we were unlucky not to be promoted, I never forget that. But it was a great experience to have as a coach and a manager. For me it was a very good experience to be here and it was enjoyable.”

Your last time in the Champions League was with Ajax. Some said you haven't quite got it yet here at United, style of play, is that the frustration?
“One thing is true, from the start [of] last season I almost never started with the best, I would say, the best starting XI. There was always something, like an injury. But you have to deal with and we always got the results in, apart from the period we are in now. That is football and that will always play a part. I have the experience from this in the past, I have managed this in the past, it is now always going up. You have to deal with it and it's also a situation I like as you have to handle it and we have to manage this. You must know what to do and this in focus on the process.”

What have you made of Bayern Munich's start to the season? They obviously had the defeat to Leipzig in the Super Cup. They have conceded twice to [Bayer] Leverkusen. Do you see ways to exploit them defensively, as much as they have been impressive with those attacking players, like Harry Kane?
“I think they have very attractive players, very skilful. You can't be unfocused for one second, one split second because of all of the individual class they have. But as you say, they also do sometimes leave spaces, but we have respect for them. We know Bayern in the Champions League, at home, especially in the group stages are very strong. We are really looking forward because we like a challenge and also we trust ourselves.”

Ten Hag: Hojlund and Rashford will hit it off


Erik expects the United strikers to develop a relationship at the sharp end of the pitch.

I appreciate you do have a big squad but the nine players in total that are out through are injury, there are some experienced quite senior players in that group. Can you go to your doctor, your physio [and ask] why these injuries are happening to these players?
“I don't know if we can go to the doctors or the officials because they are dealing with [injury] problems. First of all, injuries are always coming in top football, because we are living on the edge. When you are living on the edge, injuries will always come up. Of course we analyse why things happen, but also we have to deal with the facts. It is always about the players who are available and that's a strong side, what we can line up and how we get the best out of it, to bring up tomorrow again, they are a good team. But to make the next step. Integrating Rasmus Hojlund, integrating [Sergio] Reguilon, so two new players in our way of play. We are here to get the result.”

Erik I am just wondering, since the weekend, whether you have you felt the need to reset? To start over again, whether there is anything like that, that you have done?
“No, we don't feel we need a reset, absolutely not. We are in the process and what you see is that in parts of game we played good. But then also, in other parts we play below our levels. What we have to demand is to be consistent and we must step up in certain levels, all the time for 90-plus minutes. That is the demand on us.”
As we have Rasmus now, we know Marcus can make the most out of anything. He had a fantastic goalscoring return last year. How have conversations gone with him about how maybe he needs to transform his game in order to help Rasmus with the sort of service that he needs?
“Yes, absolutely. How can the two can benefit from each other. But, they have to know each other and that process just started. At the same time we need results and they go hand in hand. We learn from every training and from every game, and of course we reflect with the togetherness. We lead that, as coaching staff and also we have seen that Rasmus [Hojlund] and Rashy are talking about how they can benefit from each other. You can see that discuss and that the inter-action is happening on the pitch, it is going on. That is a good sign and I'm sure that connection - I think that connection is already there - but I think they will get the routines in.”