Every word from Erik's pre-Fulham press conference

Friday 23 February 2024 14:49

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag addressed the media ahead of our Premier League clash with Fulham at Old Trafford tomorrow afternoon (15:00 GMT).

With news emerging regarding the setback that will keep Rasmus Hojlund sidelined for 'two to three weeks', Erik was keen to shed further light on the Dane's injury.

Ten Hag was also quizzed on our push for a Champions League place, as well as the ownership news surrounding Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Missed any of the updates? Fear not, with every word covered for you in both text and video format down below...

Part one: Press conference v Fulham Video

Part one: Press conference v Fulham

Press conference part one | Questions focused on Rasmus Hojlund's injury, Sir Jim Ratcliffe's investment and Fulham...

Hi Erik, it's not great news about Rasmus [Hojlund]. Can you just explain what happened and how long he is going to be out for?
“It is a small injury, two to three weeks. That is what happens and the risk [when you are] playing at high intensity, training. As I say it is not a big injury, but he has to wait for one, two, three weeks.”

This is the first time you have spoken since the ownership of the club was confirmed and Jim Ratcliffe obviously gave his interviews earlier this week. What have you gathered from him about the demands on you and the demands on the team for the rest of the season?
“It is not from his press conference. We speak a lot and I have had many conversations with him and Dave Brailsford about this club and about the team and structures. We are very aligned and I am very behind their ambitions. I think it totally fits with the ambitions I have and with the ones I had when I came in. We are in that project and for me I am now 18-19 months in and I see we are going in the right direction. Yes, we have had setbacks in the second season, but you can see the team coming. You see the squad progressing and developing. We need to keep going with that process, work hard on the training pitch and work hard during games. Of course it is very important to have the players fit but also to construct a squad which is robust. I'm sure we will be very strong and will be even stronger when we add to this squad even more quality.”

Do you get the feeling from him that he is confident in you? Can you deliver the vision that you outlined?
“Absolutely. That feeling [is clear] when we have had so many talks, we are very aligned. We have the same ambition and we are very aligned in the process.”

With him being very ambitious and wanting to get things done quickly, how much more pressure does that put on you and how much more pressure does that put players under?
“Nothing, there is no more pressure because we have the same ambition and the same targets.”

Sir Jim Ratcliffe | The Interview Video

Sir Jim Ratcliffe | The Interview

Another chance to watch our unmissable Sir Jim Ratcliffe Q&A from February, exploring his plans on and off the pitch…

But clearly if you are not in the Champions League that will put you under more pressure. Do you expect that?
“That will always be the case, but as I say, I see the process. I see this team is developing and progressing. We have now also the right age group across the squad, so we can make that even stronger, they will grow. We will do everything in our power because we have such strong competition, but also we know we have the reason behind it. We know in this moment we are not in the position [we want]. We still have to catch up and we are still in the moment where every game is a final for us because we have to be in the Champions League. The players want this, the team want this, we have strong ambition and we belong there and we believe [in it]. But we also have to prove it.”

Is there a possibility that injuries could ruin this?
“Yeah, of course, that is an issue, but that is also the same at other clubs. We have to deal with this. I now have the feeling we can [better deal with it] than we did back in autumn. But still it is an issue when the depth of the squad have to prove it.”

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Erik, Jim said how he felt that the fact that United haven't won the league over the last decade was as much down to the structure at the club as it was down to the coaches. Do you feel like anything has been missing during your time here in terms of the structure?
“I don't go into that discussion now, I think it is what we look forward to in the future. But I discussed previously we always have to improve and we always have to do better. We have to think that better structures can help us for the future, we have to do this. This is also clear with our competitors because they never sleep, they are always improving. So you always have to think about improvements. Last year we were third in the league and we had two finals, so if we can improve, then we are not too far away. In the last few games you have seen what this team is capable of, especially the potential, it is very good in this team.”

How much of a setback are these injuries? You just seemed to be getting everybody back and push towards the top four? Do you see it as a positive or a negative to maybe give those fringe players a chance to get back into the starting XI?
“It is both. Other players will get the opportunity to show their qualities. We are very curious and we have the confidence they can, as this is the reason we constructed this squad heading into the January window. We saw that players are developing, progressing, who didn't have the chance lately or in the first half of the season, or they were injured. Now they will get opportunities and now they will get the chance to fit in and to contribute.”

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Erik with the idea in mind of trying to push further up the table, I think six of the next seven fixtures are all against teams in the bottom half. Do you see that as a major opportunity to push on yourselves now?
“We have to go from game-to-game, every game is a final. You will see when you get closer to the end, the points will be more expensive and everyone is fighting to get their position in the league table. We are used to it, not only this season or in January, where we were playing in every game a final, but we have the experience from many players. So many players across the team can now deal with high-pressure situations. So we love it actually and we are looking forward to it.”