Every word from Erik's post-match press conference

Saturday 16 September 2023 18:15

Erik ten Hag addressed the Rasmus Hojlund substitution following Manchester United's 3-1 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford.

The boss was questioned about the switch - which saw the Dane withdrawn for Anthony Martial on 64 minutes - by journalists in his post-match press conference.

Ten Hag explained that Rasmus, who was denied his first Reds goal after a VAR decision in the first half, is not quite up to full fitness yet and nor is Martial, following his injury in pre-season.

You can read that and every other word from the media briefing in M16 below...

What did you think of the reaction of the fans for the decision to bring Hojlund off?

“I think it was positive, you see that the fans in the first moment in Old Trafford, the reception for him was great, I think he performed very well. So I think it’s good that they give him this signal, this message. It will give him belief, Rasmus, but everyone knows he came in with a small issue, we built him over the past three, four weeks, he’s not ready for a whole game. And we have many games to play [at] short notice, so yeah, we have to build him also in fitness.”

Watch Erik's press conference Video

Watch Erik's press conference

The manager addressed the media after United's defeat to Brighton...

Everybody expected this season to be an improvement on last season but the performances generally haven’t been as good. Can you explain why?

“I think today as well, we played well, first half, you analyse that first half, it’s crazy. I think we started well, we created chances, and on the second attack for them and first chance, it’s in. Then we have to do better, we have to deal with that setback. Then we find ourselves in the game, we score the equaliser, but then it is disallowed. And that is I think the stage we are in at this moment. Then you can point to anyone, you have to look in the mirror, look to yourself, you have to make your own luck and, yeah, we have to improve.”

I don’t think the boos were for Rasmus Hojlund coming off, but for Anthony Martial coming on. Does it get to a point where you just can't pick Anthony Martial anymore? He doesn’t influence the game in any way and that was the reaction of the fans...

“I think it was because Rasmus Hojlund came off. But I don’t want to discuss that, I don’t know. But I think Anthony Martial every time, last year, every time when he he had a very positive effect on our games. I think even we almost lost no games with Anthony Martial on the pitch. If that’s the fact, I don’t understand, because when he is fit, he definitely will contribute. At this moment, he is not [at] top fitness, but he is improving and I’m sure when he is 100 per cent fit, he will contribute – again, as [he did] last season.”

Is that the frustration – he’s 27, he didn’t play in many games last season. It almost seems unfair on Hojlund that that’s the back-up striker, that he doesn’t have someone to take the pressure off him...

“Yes, but I think he has to make also his own luck and first be available and be consistently available. Then you will see his form will be better. But as I said, every time last year when he was playing, he affected our game in a positive way. So I hope he stays fit and I am sure he will contribute to our game.”

Three defeats in four – are you worried about results?

“Definitely, that is something that bothers me [results]. But also I have to see the way we play. But, finally, it’s about character and now we have to see how strong we are, and how the team sticks together, and which players are standing up, show the character and lead the team because in all the games, all the games but, especially, the games against [Brighton] today, Arsenal, [Nottingham] Forest, we have seen we can play very good and we can create a lot of chances. But there are also some improvements to make, that is definitely the case, and we have to step up.”

Ten Hag’s post-match interview Video

Ten Hag’s post-match interview

Erik ten Hag feels United were unfortunate at times during the 3-1 defeat to Brighton at Old Trafford…

A lot of money has been spent, Brighton have a lot of free transfers, players that didn’t cost a lot of money at all. How do you explain that, that gap?

“I think all the teams are spending a lot of money.”

That Brighton team cost less than £20 million...

“I think Brighton also they spent money as everyone is doing. When Man United is coming, it inflates the price, that is also the truth.”

Is crisis a fair description of where the team is at?

“No. But we have to be very disappointed and we have to be very annoyed with ourselves. Because at United, the demand is you win games.”

Matchday Review: United v Brighton Video

Matchday Review: United v Brighton

Get reaction to United v Brighton in our post-game show with the MUTV punditry team...

What was your view of the goal that was ruled out and do you feel the calls at the moment aren’t going your way?

“Yeah, but that’s why I say it looks like we are unfortunate in this moment. In the 86th minute, you have to get a penalty against Arsenal, you don’t get them, in the 87th minute you score 2-1 and you think you’re going to win the game and you have nine points. Today, you play really well in the first half and then the disallowed goal and, in that period, you are together and we also have to turn this. If we stick together and we stick to the plan, stick to the rules and the principles and our way of playing, we will turn this. But that’s a demand on us, definitely.”

Hojlund coming off – it maybe felt positive for him, but it didn’t feel positive for the stadium in the game, it felt negative...

“Yeah, but if he gets injured because he is not capable to play 90 minutes, then we are much farther away from where we want to go.”

You’ll be aware the mood can change quickly – are you confident you can show some positivity in Munich and will you have any players back?

“Maybe, maybe one player, but I think Munich is a little bit too short, but I think when we go to Burnley in the week after, I think players will return, yes.”

Can your team respond? Bayern are one of the toughest teams in Europe?

“Absolutely, Bayern Munich I think is one of the favourites to win the Champions League so we have to be good there. But I think I have already explained what we need there - we need character, belief, resilience, determination, absolutely.”