Part two: Every word from Erik's pre-Reading press conference

Friday 27 January 2023 22:30

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag provided a key insight into Marcus Rashford's superb form, in advance of tomorrow's FA Cup clash with Reading at Old Trafford.

Speaking to the media at Carrington earlier today, Ten Hag was keen to praise our no.10's performances this season, while also revealing the kind of players he is looking to add to our squad this summer.

With our FA Cup quest set to continue against the Royals tomorrow evening, United's players will be keen to progress further in England's oldest cup competition.

You can now read every word from the second part of his pre-match press conference below...

Part two: Ten Hag's pre-Reading press conference Video

Part two: Ten Hag's pre-Reading press conference

Press conference | Erik discusses the packed fixture list, Marcus Rashford and the transfer window...

We are at the halfway stage of the season, your first season, and you are still fighting on four fronts. Are you ahead of schedule?
"That's good. That's why we need all the players we have here in the squad. To develop them but especially to get the right results out of it. We want to stay in those games and leagues, cups as long as possible and we have to fight for it. I think that is good for the development of the club, if we are ahead or not in the process I don't know but what we do is every day, we have to give our maximum. Every day we have to approach it and say good is not good enough and we have to do better. This is so that we keep going in the progress, and then the progress it is about that and it will never end. We have to approach it like that and if we are ahead or not in the process it is not that important and it is where we are now and we want to win every game, no matter the opponent."

I think you mentioned it there, 10 games in 30 days, its a crazy schedule. How much strain does that put on the players mentally and physically? Do you feel you have the squad to cope with that?
"It's tough, but it is always I feel better to have more games than we have training. Players like to have more games than they train. We are looking forward and I think they have a good spirit and good mood in this dressing room to cope with that."
Harry [Maguire] was suspended for the game other night, and we have seen Luke Shaw play very well at centre-back in the derby. You also have Victor Lindelof there too. Is it a fair question to ask whether he is now fifth choice under you? How big is it to manage Harry as Manchester United captain?
"No he is not fifth choice but I have to say it is up to him. He is training very well, he brings quality and that is what I expect from all the players in the squad. He has to fight for his position in the squad. Things can change and they can also do so sometimes really quickly. He is making progress and I think it is up to him."

Very politely you very rarely pick him, so what does that say, the facts are there?

"That is not completely true."

In big games derbies, Premier League, he never really gets a start?
"That is not true. After the World Cup, he should have played but he got ill. There is nothing I can do about that. He knows that and then you come in [during a good] run, and he has to wait for his chance. They are the laws of top-level football and selection. Then you have to wait for your chance and in the meantime you have to work well to prove the chance is there."

Ten Hag's team news for Reading FA Cup tie


Erik has delivered a fresh squad update in advance of the Royals' visit to Old Trafford this weekend.

It looks like before the end of January there are unlikely to be anymore signings. Do you know which areas in the summer you would like to strengthen?
"I have an idea. But in the coming days, If I had the opportunity in the comings days [to strengthen], then I would go for it but this is not only up to me. I think at this club, everyday, that has to be the approach. You have to get better and if they are opportunities to get better you have to strike. That is my approach and I am looking, I am looking around with research and I have an idea with the profiles and what profiles we need to strengthen this squad."

Phil Jones's contract is up at the end of the season, has there already been a decision that he will be released at the end of the season?
"There has not been a decision take about that, for the summer. The whole season he has been injured.

Is there any chance he plays again this season?
"I can’t say. What I can say is he is not available for training and hasn't been since the first day of training this season. Then, the opportunity that you recovery quickly also goes."

How to watch and follow United vs Reading


Check the kick-off time, TV info, latest team news, other fixtures and more in our in-depth match preview.

What has happened with Marcus Rashford? Can you tell us what you have done with him? What have you done and said to him specifically?
"I am not Harry Potter. Confidence [is important] and every player has to make and get his own confidence. He fights for this and he invests in this. With me and my coaching staff, we bring structures and especially with the way of play. That gives him some routines what he needed to get into the right position, but finally it was up to him. If the player has confidence and he is confidence in the way we are working, the environment and the culture are also important. The player can then perform at his best. Marcus is obviously performing at his best at this moment and he is in really good shape, from day-to-day, game-to-game, training-to-training, more and more routines are coming in. I think the frontline also now gives me a positive feeling that they are getting stronger. That gives me the feeling that they can all benefit from each other. In the first part of the season we had many problems in the frontline and we often had games where we didn't even have players who were 100 per cent physically and mentally fit. Now I think it is much more that case and Marcus can now take much more benefit from certain situations."

Do you want to win a Rashford shirt?


If you enter our competition now, you could soon be in possession of a no.10 United shirt.

Did you have to convince him how much of a good player he could become again? I'm sure when you arrived you knew how great of a player he could be?
"I said this to him, yes. But this a question you are better suited to giving to him."

Has Benni McCarthy been a big influence to Marcus and the other strikers on the pitch?

"We also made a construction of the staff, so that all positions are covered. We need different types in the squad from a tactical approach, but also human beings and personality approach. We had to get it right to get the right set-up in our staff. As far as I can see I am really happy with the coaching staff I have here at Manchester United."