Every word from Erik's post-match press conference

Sunday 17 December 2023 20:00

Erik ten Hag is pleased with the way Manchester United performed against Liverpool in the 0-0 draw at Anfield on Sunday, but feels his team could have hurt the hosts more.

United weathered an early barrage of pressure from the home side to threaten and, on another day, might have took all three points back to Manchester.

The players had to settle for a 0-0 draw, however, after an end-to-end second half that could have gone either way.

After the game, which saw the Reds halt a run of two consecutive defeats, against Bournemouth and Bayern Munich, Ten Hag briefed the media.

Read on to see every response the Dutchman gave during his post-match press conference...

Watch Ten Hag's press conference Video

Watch Ten Hag's press conference

Erik ten Hag spoke about Kobbie Mainoo, Raphael Varane and 'being hard to beat' after the game...

After all the talk of unrest in the dressing room and other stuff, is that the sort of performance that proves that wrong?
"I told you."

How important is Raphael Varane to that performance? It seems that his class really showed today, leading the team...
"Absolutely, but we know what he is capable of and he has many such performances. I think he did very well, as the whole team did, [and] in the partnership with Jonny Evans, they were both leading the team from the back. I think also Andre Onana played a big part in it but I can mention all the players because it was really a team [performance]. Very disciplined, but we should have taken [advantage] more on the ball. With three or four passes, that we are capable of, we could have even hurt the opponent more. But all over, in the end, you have to conclude that we had the best chances from open play, from Rasmus Hojlund and Garnacho."
Is it disappointing, the manner of Diogo Dalot's red card at the end? Was it quite petty from the referee to give two yellows?
"I leave the judgement to you."

Just a word on Kobbie [Mainoo]'s performance, 18 years old and playing at Anfield for the first time. He seemed pretty calm in the circumstances...
"If you are good enough, you are old enough. He proved that. When he gets used more often to those games, we will get even more joy from it. Because then his scanning and his speed of action, he can get such passes, three or four passes in and get switches in, and he is the player who can really hurt opponents."

What was it about the attacks that didn't quite work?
"After the ball regains, and we know they have a strong counter-press, but then you need to keep the ball. You need to get three or four passes in and in such moments then you can hurt them, like we did with the chance for Garnacho and the chance for Rasmus Hojlund in the second half."
Ten Hag: This shows we can be disciplined Video

Ten Hag: This shows we can be disciplined

Erik ten Hag gives his views on United's defensive structure, our attacking output and the red card at Anfield...

Just going on from that, Virgil van Dijk suggested that only one team wanted to win today. What is your take on that?
"That is his opinion."

Were you proud of the way your team dug deep and stuck to their principles in what was a hostile atmosphere, certainly at the start?
"I said that after the game in the dressing room, yeah, I am very proud of this team. We should do this more often. I said this. For instance, Newcastle was also a tough game and we make one mistake and switch off and then it is a goal. But when you stay in the game, and you are disciplined in your gameplan, finally it opens up and then you can take your chances. Or even, you can get two, three, four passes in after the ball regains, and get the switches in and then you can be really more dominant in the game."

Did you reference the 7-0 [loss last season] at all in the lead up to the game?
"We mentioned it, but I said to them that last year we played them [Liverpool] three times. We lost one time but we beat them two times. We are capable of beating Liverpool. I think we proved today [what] we are capable of. So if we bring this in every game, then first of all we are a hard team to beat, and then from that point we can go on and win games. And also big games."