Every word from Erik's pre-Brighton press conference

Wednesday 03 May 2023 12:30

Erik ten Hag expects Brighton to play with a high level of motivation during Thursday's Premier League meeting at the Amex Stadium, as they look to get one back on Manchester United following their recent FA Cup semi-final defeat to the Reds.

Ahead of our trip to the south coast (20:00 BST), the boss has therefore insisted that his team will need to match and better those levels shown by the Seagulls on their home turf, if we are to come away with another successful result.

That was in response to a question during the first part of his pre-match press conference at Carrington this afternoon, in which Ten Hag also offered updates on his squad ahead of the midweek clash and discussed Jimmy Murphy's legacy ahead of the today's statue unveiling. 

You can read - and watch - the entirety of that section of Erik's media briefing below...

Press conference: Brighton v United Video

Press conference: Brighton v United

Press conference | Get the latest from Erik ten Hag as United prepare to face Brighton in the Premier League...

First of all, we are in the Jimmy Murphy Centre, and the statue will be unveiled today at the stadium. What do you know about Jimmy Murphy, what have you learned about him during your time here?
"I think it's very good that the club gives so much honour and recognition to a main person in the history of Manchester United. It's about [the fact] he stands for more symbols. [He is a] symbol of youth development. He stands for resilience and determination and they are the standards for Manchester United. It's driven by this person after the Munich [Air Disaster]. The club was devastated. They bounced back and this person played a main role. It is totally deserved he gets honour for this and the club is doing that with the Jimmy Murphy Centre, the Jimmy Murphy Player of the Year [award] and now a statue. It's fantastic."

The current holder of that trophy is Alejandro Garnacho. We've seen Garnacho getting a new contract this week. How important is it to get a player like that nailed down to a new deal? What's his potential and how proud are you of the way he's come on from a challenging pre-season?
"First of all, I think he has the prize and it's a prize and he also shows he can make the final steps. Not only the talent but also he made it. But now it's a new start, a restart, and now the expectations will be higher. The demands will be higher and he has come this way. He has a strong character and that is why he is there in the moment, on this level and he did it by himself. But now it is coming, [there is] more work to go, because the demands are higher. We expect more from him, but it is great he made it because it [shows] that we will give young players opportunities - but they have to deserve it. So when I say give, [this is] translated to deserve. They have to deserve it with their feet. They have to show it on the pitch and that means you have to invest a lot and deserve it by training performances, by performances in the Under-21s and then wait for your moment and then you have to prove it again. And for Alejandro, he is that step beyond, but now the demands will be even more because now he must compete for a starting XI position. Every time is the same. You have to cross limits and every time you have to go in the next level. We go with them in the challenge, but most important is the player has to do it."

How to watch and follow Brighton v United


Get all the information for United's trip to the south coast, as we look for a big result in the top-four race.

Will he be available tomorrow, or is that too soon?
"I think we have one training [session], but I think it's too soon to be available. I think he is short. I think he needs some training and then in short notice he will be available."

If you look back to August against Brighton and you lost that at home. Now we are here and you are close to Champions League qualification. How satisfying is that?
"I never want to talk during the season about proud or satisfaction. No, because you know my statement: satisfaction leads to laziness and we are in the season. We have six games to go and every game we want to win. Therefore you need full focus, you need full energy and you need full preparation and tomorrow definitely it's going to be a fight and we have to get ready for that fight to get the points."

If I'd have offered you a trophy and top four in August, you'd have taken that wouldn't you?
"We want to win every game, we want to win every competition and so I can't choose but it's clear we want to be in the Champions League. That is the competition we are now fighting for and I think that is in this moment the only thing we have to focus on because the FA Cup final is after the season. So the only thing we have to do now is get this done. But you have to go from game to game."

Rio enters Premier League Hall of Fame


Former defender Ferdinand's remarkable career is marked with the special honour.

If you get it done early, how big an advantage is that?
"I never speak about if, in such scenarios. Not negative, not positive. Focus on the game tomorrow. Don't dream, and stay in the same focus. You have to improve every day and good is not good enough. We have to be better."

After you beat Newcastle at Wembley you faced them at St. James' Park and faced quite a big reaction from the home team. Do you expect the same from Brighton after beating them in the same circumstance?
"That is normal. That is a normal reaction. I think everyone who is involved in top sport, if you get beaten you want to have revenge, and that is normal. They have a huge motivation to beat us but we have to match that. Not only match that, we have to do more. We have to show more, that we have more hunger than them to win this game. I think willingness, that is the word for tomorrow."

How much of a target is it on focusing on your away form between now and the end of the season?
"I don't think about away or home, we have to win every game. So we have to win tomorrow as well."

Erik, how close are Rapha Varane and Scott McTominay to being available again?
"The prognosis, I think Rapha is closer than Scott McTominay in this moment. But still they are, for the coming two games, they are not available."
Behind the scenes of Garnacho's big day Video

Behind the scenes of Garnacho's big day

A Day In The Life | Here's another chance to watch Garna's new-contract day, featuring an EPIC speech from Ten Hag...

And you mentioned when you were talking about Jimmy Murphy about youth development. I just wonder how much you are aware of when you came to Manchester United the expectation on a manager to develop youth, to play attractive football and deliver success?
"I know the culture of Manchester United. I knew before, because I was employed in youth football [for a long time], so I knew already. I met several times, I faced Manchester United in big tournaments in the Netherlands. We have big tournament, under-15s, Manchester United was always there. I think [it was one of] the biggest tournaments for under-15 teams, but also in the past everyone talked about and knew about the Busby Babes, also the Class of '92. So Manchester United has a big history from youth development and to develop them and progress them into the first team. And in our talks last year, that was also one of the points we talked about and of course, because I was in Ajax, Ajax was the same. As famous as Manchester United in developing young players, giving young players opportunities to work on their personality. If they fail, then they are good people and they have a good life and they can do and contribute in society. But, of course, what we want is to develop players into the first team. So I think we are also in that perspective in a good way. Garnacho, but also Kobbie Mainoo is on his way, there is a pathway into the first team but they have to deserve it. We make structures, with the Academy doing good work, but we work together in structures with the Under-21s into training [with] the first team. But at the end of the day, the talent has to do it by himself."