Every word: Part two of Erik’s pre-West Ham press conference

Tuesday 28 February 2023 22:30

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag was quizzed on a range of different topics during the second part of his media briefing, ahead of our Emirates FA Cup clash with West Ham on Wednesday evening.

The 19:45 GMT kick-off at Old Trafford will be the Reds' first game of March, which looks set to be the latest action-packed month on United's schedule.

Just two days on from our win over Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley, Erik was keen to reiterate that the focus remains on chasing down further success this season, with tomorrow's game presenting a chance for his side to progress in another competition.

Ahead of our cup tie against the Hammers, the boss spoke to the media on a range of topics and, below, you can read everything he had to say in part two of his press conference at Carrington...

Part two: Ten Hag’s West Ham press conference Video

Part two: Ten Hag’s West Ham press conference

Press conference part two | Erik discusses Anthony Martial's road to recovery, ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup tie...

Erik do you look out for players whose levels might have dropped after you have won a trophy? Is that what you have to look out for as a manager, to make sure that doesn't happen?
''Of course, but I think first, the players have to take responsibility for that. They have to take responsibility for their performance. I can see that. It is just a trophy, but it is not the end of the season. So what I hear around me, when I also see the comments, maybe. But when I see the fight in the dressing room, yesterday, it is not like we are satisfied, we want to do better. I think that is quite clear and also quite inspiring. It is not the end, definitely not.''

With Martial, do you know when he will be back? Will he play before the March internationals?
''I hope but I won't give a prospective [time] or an expectation about that. [I will] let him do his work as several times now he has been back and he drops back too quickly. So we [have to] give him the time and I hope he is [then] on board [as available again], but first, in this moment, we are doing really well in the set-up. When he is available, we will have another option, a good option. Let's give him the time and we will see when he is back. Then we will be happy because we have a quality option extra for the rest of the season.''

One of those options, Weghorst, Marcel Sabitzer has come in on loan. They have won trophies already, do you want to keep them in the squad next season?
''I think it is much too quick [to decide]. [It is] much too soon to talk about that. First, we are in this season and that is where the focus has to be. No distractions for what is coming next season. Only the season we are in. We are in the right position at this moment, this is the position we want to be as we are now competing in three leagues [competitions].''

Erik you have played 40 games this season including eight in 28 days in February. There is the potential for 25 more. Can this squad cope with this level of workload?
''Yes. I think so because we have managed it now quite good. We can do it also until the end of the season, I am happy. Except [from] Anthony Martial, the availability from all the players is there.''

What makes you think they can not just cope with it, but thrive under it. What is it in the squad that makes you think they can?
''Mentally, they are really ambitious, that is one thing. They give us energy. Second, we have the type of players who can handle the load, physically.''

Ten Hag provides Martial update


Erik has explained just where the French forward is at, in terms of his recovery.

Hi Erik, you have the first trophy in and you speak about being hungry for more trophies now. People are stating to use the word quadruple, can you understand why? Is it feasible for people to talk about that?
''That is too far ahead. We have to focus on the next game. That is the only thing we do, and for us, we are now talking about the Premier League, but I didn't hear the word West Ham United. This is the press conference for West Ham United, so it is only about that. That is all we have to talk about.''

But it is fair for other people to talk about more trophies?
''We don't have to talk about trophies, we can talk about West Ham United because that is the game tomorrow.''

But is that the problem for you now trying to manage expectation after Sunday? Maybe trying to keep peoples feet on the ground in terms of what you can and can't do now?
''I can't influence that, but, we have high expectations from ourselves. We are ambitions, but ambitious in the way that we want to play better. We want to make our game better and that is what we aim for. Day by day, demands, high standards.''

How many changes will Erik make against West Ham?poll

How many changes will Erik make against West Ham?

Is Marcus Rashford fit to start against West Ham? Does he need a rest at all?
''No, he is fit.''

Bruno Fernandes, he has played a lot of football?
''He does, but he likes to play. He doesn't want to miss anything.''

Are you now favourites for the FA Cup which you play in tomorrow?
''Game by game.''

When you are on these runs and you have been involved in a number of competitions, do the players find an extra energy from the adrenaline of extra games and winning trophies when you are on a run like this?
''Very good question. It is true. My experience at Ajax when we dropped out of Europe, the levels went down and when we are in, it gives you energy.''