Every word from Erik's Everton press conference

Friday 24 November 2023 13:30

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has previewed our return to domestic action, as we prepare to take on Everton in the Premier League this weekend.

Following the completion of the recent international break, the Reds are set for a tricky clash on Merseyside against the Toffees on Sunday, as we bid to make it four consecutive wins away from home in the competition.

Speaking to the media at Carrington earlier today, Erik addressed topics such as Rasmus Hojlund, Andre Onana and Luke Shaw, as well as Everton's recent 10-point deduction.

Scroll down to read, and watch, everything the boss had to say when quizzed by journalists in part one...
Part one: Press conference v Everton Video

Part one: Press conference v Everton

Press conference part one | Ten Hag has provided the latest updates on Onana, Evans, Shaw, Hojlund and more...

Hi Erik, can you give us an update on Rasmus Hojlund and Andre Onana and the goalkeeping situation?
“Andre [Onana] is okay. He stepped in during training today, so he is good. Rasmus [Hojlund] is a close finish, he is training, he is down and outside. He is making very good steps and we will have to wait until tomorrow to make a final decision.”

In terms of other injuries, is there any timescale on Luke Shaw's injury and when he might be back?
“Luke Shaw will be available for Sunday, he will be in the squad.”

In terms of the fixture itself, your form in the Premier League is the best in the country right now. Perhaps some of the headlines are not what they seem. In terms of the form in the Premier League, do you feel you have turned a corner in recent games?

“Definitely. We have seen a turning point and we have seen that how we deal with certain situations, that we now build on these situations. Now we have to build on it, [as] it is now a massive month. We are really looking forward with confidence because as you said, in the Premier League, everyone is winning against everyone. There are no easy games for anyone, so every team will drop points, but in the last five games, we have won [four]. That will give us confidence.”
How difficult do you think it is going to be at Everton on Sunday? They lost 10 points, their supporters are very angry, you are banned from the technical area. How hard is it going to be to manage that?
“But is always about us. I can see the opposition, I can see they are mad. But finally, it is about us and we know they are mad and that is their fuel. We have to match that and those standards. When we match the standards, we have a great chance to win the game.” 

You then have to go to Galatasaray and then to Newcastle. Tests of temperament and maybe mental strength, as well as the physical side. How difficult is it to coach your players and get them ready physically, as well as mentally?
“We started earlier today with that. We go into a week that is very condensed, three games in six days and as a group - and as a squad - we have to deal with that.”

What do you mean about dealing with it and preparing them for it? Do you speak to them about it?
“Of course, we have a plan and a strategy for it. We make the players aware and they have to take responsibility for it. Especially it is about cooperation.”
How significant is Luke Shaw's return Erik? Especially in terms of leadership on the pitch and the balance of the team?
“You can mention many things. You can mention physical [ability], his technical ability, his leadership. Yeah, it is clear. [For] a long time in the season we didn't have a left full-back. So we are very happy he is back. That is a good sign. He will help us [to be] more stable. I am sure of that.”

Given the atmosphere at Everton, are you going to have special word with your players about maintaining discipline and not perhaps getting carried away with the intensity of the occasion?
“Yeah, but we have also stepped forward with that recently. This season we have made some steps there and we have good form. We also have a good away form and we have a strong belief on what we have to do, to have that platform in order to win games.”

Hi Erik, can I ask about Jonny Evans and how he is getting on? I know he missed the Luton game, is he in contention for Sunday? And can I ask about Raphael Varane, there have been reports of a disagreement with him. Can you clarify what the situation is there?

“To Jonny [Evans], he is on the way back but not for Everton. He is not ready yet but it will not take long. Rapha Varane, I do not know what you are talking about. It is rumours. He is a very important player, but there is internal competition. That should be [like that] in a top club like we are. The competition and when you have to decide between two players who are brilliant, Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire, you also have to make a choice for that decision.”

Erik, I think it is 12 goals in 13 league games. Is there an acceptance now that you may need to get a new goal scorer in during January? Strengthen the attack?
“I am confident we will get a [turning] point. Our players are able to score goals and some, they showed it already. Rashy [Marcus Rashford] scored 30 goals last season, Rasmus Hojlund [has] scored five goals in the Champions League. That is massive. There are not many players across Europe who can deliver that. Our players are capable of scoring goals and there will come a point when they do. As a team, we are good, I think we are ranked fifth in the Premier League by creating chances. They have to step up but they know that. You have to deal with that, that is the pressure of the standard here at Manchester United. But our players have the abilities to score goals.”

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Read the latest on five players ahead of the Reds' trip to Merseyside.

Hi Erik, you are banned from the touchline on Sunday. In hindsight, looking at the two cards you received before Luton, were they correct? Or do you think that more can be done to improve the relationship between managers on the touchline and the match officials?
“Let's say this, you are not always agreeing with the refereeing. I think many decisions this season have gone against us, I have seen a list and we are number 18 in the league. But, I still have to accept it. Now I am banned, it can be a better advantage. I have a better view!”

Do you think it is a two-way street where the manager can maybe not show their frustrations as much. But also the match officials need to be more understanding?
“Definitely you have to behave yourself there on the touchline, even if they make mistakes.”

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Hi Erik, what do you make of Everton's 10-point ban and Financial Fair Play breaches? How much of that is a consideration at Manchester United, the FFP considerations landscape?
“I can't tell because I don't know the details about it. So I don't have an opinion about that because we are not Everton. The fans I can imagine are very mad, but we can't do nothing for it and we have to just play against them. So we have to match their standards.”

In terms of the picture at Manchester United, how much are the FFP regulations impacted by what you can do in the January transfer window for example?
“You are now talking about January but that is also in the previous window and the window before. There is always a limit in what case you can do business. So we have to match it and it limits you in the things you can do.”