Every word from Ten Hag's pre-Spurs press conference

Tuesday 18 October 2022 16:44

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag conducted his pre-match press conference on Tuesday afternoon, ahead of the Reds' Premier League match with Spurs at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

United are looking to close the gap on the third-placed north Londoners, following an away win over Everton and a home draw with Newcastle.

The match is the first of two this week, with the Reds set to travel to Chelsea on Saturday. However, before the weekend trip to London, Ten Hag's side must contend with Antonio Conte's in-form Spurs side.

Ahead of the highly anticipated fixture, Erik answered questions about Conte and Cristiano Ronaldo, responded to United's recent player misconduct charge, and more.

Below, you can read every single word of the Dutchman's pre-match press briefing...

Part one: Ten Hag's Tottenham press conference Video

Part one: Ten Hag's Tottenham press conference

Press conference | Watch part one of the manager's media briefing, previewing the big game against Tottenham...

Hi Erik, may we start with an injury update?
"Anthony Martial, he is not available. He is back on the pitch but not in the team training. Christian Eriksen returned in the team training today and we have to see how that works out, how he will recover, whether tomorrow he has the energy. So we have to wait for that."

Are there any updates on Harry Maguire, Donny van de Beek and Aaron Wan-Bissaka?
"They are making good progress, all, and they will all return in team training this week."

That's good news isn't it?
"It is."
May I ask you about Antonio Conte? I know you've never faced him as a manager but I just wonder if he's someone that you've maybe met away from the pitch and what you think of him as a manager?
"He's a fabulous manager. He's winning titles, trophies in the Premier League, in Italy, and you can really see his signature in the match from his team and that's a big compliment I think."

Erik, with Christian Eriksen, he will potentially be facing his former club. Has his impact surprised you, just quite how good he's been?
"No. I have known him a long time, because everyone knows he developed in Ajax. So I knew him from the Netherlands but also we faced him. As a manager, we faced him, so I know his capabilities, and I was so happy that we could sign him. I think he proved, from the first day, how important he is to our game."

Ten Hag's team news for Tottenham test


The manager delivers an update on his squad as the Reds prepare to welcome Spurs to Old Trafford.

On injury updates, do you think Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe will be available before Christmas?
"I see good progress with Brandon Williams. He returned on the pitch, individual-based. Axel is still in, working inside so he's not back on the pitch. I think it will be difficult for Axel to return before Christmas. Brandon probably [won't be] back in the squad for the games, but probably in the training for the team training."

Ronaldo seemed very upset when he was taken off at the weekend. How's he feeling? Is he happy with continued rumours about his future?
"I think no player is happy when he [is taken] off, and especially not Ronaldo, I understand that. As long as it is [done] in a quite a normal way, [I have] no problem with that. He is, of course, convinced that he should stay on and he should score a goal. That is why he is that good."

He scored a hat-trick in this fixture last year. Is that in your thoughts for tomorrow?
"I know it, but, and, of course, when you line up several facts you take count of, but also other facts you take count of."

How to watch and follow United v Spurs


Here’s everything you need to know ahead of our clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.

Erik, give us your response to the fact Manchester United have been charged about the conduct of your players in Sunday's match against Newcastle...
"My response to the charge? Yeah, it was - I must say I don't think it was too strong. It was not really aggressive but I don't know what's exactly happening on the pitch because, for me, it was too far away. I have seen it back on video [and] there was a touch from a player from Newcastle, that was quite clear, and then they go to the ref to ask about it."

Could you just give us your thoughts on the respect for referees in this country? Your team chased after a referee and that looks not great. What is your view of that?
"First of all, I want to express that we have always accepted the referee's decisions. But it's also quite normal that you ask why. In the moment, it was a curious incident [so] you ask as a team why. But my view is, finally, quite quickly you have to accept the referee's decision. It's the VAR so okay, we have to accept it. And then you have to move on. We are an example for amateurs, an example for youth. [We are] professional players, quite clear. So we have to know our role. But it's also about professional football, so once again when it's a decision like this, and, once again, it was quite obvious the player touched the ball for Newcastle and so our players took advantage from it so you ask 'so why?' But then he explained and it has to be quite soon that it's done, clear."

Erik's update on our homegrown defenders


Ten Hag was asked about the situation with Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams, ahead of Spurs' visit.

Erik, you have a crazy month of fixtures and then the World Cup starts. How do you look medium-term, long-term, and plan with your players for the season?
"From the start of the season, we did that, tried to plan that, the overload of players. You see around, with many clubs now, injuries are coming up. And you can't avoid everything because it's top football. In top football, they go to the limits and injuries will come. With this many games in a long season, and also what's a huge problem is that players don't get a break in the summer. So [there is] a huge overload on the players, so they can't recover, so you have to manage that. So you have to protect the players as a manager to get the best out of them. Not only from the risk of injury but also to keep them in the right form in the end of the season. You have to rotate, you need a squad. You need more than 11 players so you can rotate and you have to keep everyone fresh to avoid big injuries as much as you can, and to get them in the right shape and to keep them in the right shape and the right form."