Every word from Erik's pre-Everton press conference

Friday 07 October 2022 13:31

Following Manchester United's 3-2 triumph away to Omonia Nicosia on Thursday night, the Reds are on the road again on Sunday, taking on Everton at Goodison Park, in the Premier League.

The Dutchman will be looking for his side to follow up Thursday's success with a victory on Merseyside, to get back to winning ways domestically in our third match of nine in October.

Ahead of Sunday's clash against the Toffees, Erik issued team news and answered questions on Donny van de Beek, his team's intensity, and more.

Read every answer from the press conference below...

Watch Erik's Everton press conference Video

Watch Erik's Everton press conference

Ten Hag delivers updates on four Reds and calls for consistency in his pre-Everton media briefing...

Erik, are any of the injured players likely to be available this weekend or are they all still out?
“Difficult to say. Varane has made progress and I hope he’s available but I think it will be close. From the other players, Harry Maguire is not [available] and then it’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Donny van de Beek, both not.”

Van de Beek, I know he can’t play this weekend but what’s the injury, what’s the situation?
“He had a muscle injury and so it takes him a couple of weeks. He’s now back on the training grass so he’s outside doing his work but still individually. He’s not returned to team training so we have to wait for that moment.”

Are you confident he can still have an impact at United, because he’s had a difficult few years at the club and he’s still not started a game this season, but do you think he can come good?
“He has to be fit. Obviously, that is a disadvantage. He has now been here for two-and-a-half years. He had pre-season, that was quite okay, then his chances will come. When he came on against Brighton, he came on as a sub and did very well but you have to be available and when you are not available you cannot get a place in the first XI. Now he has to make sure he gets fit and fights for his position.”

Hi Erik, you just mentioned in your last answer before about intensity and that was what was lacking between you and Manchester City. How do you get that on a consistent basis? Is it a mental thing, is it a training thing and how do you make sure that happens all the time?
“It’s more. It’s physical, it’s mental. It’s also sustainability, is that the right word? Yeah, sustainability. Especially, it’s like a routine. A way of life and you have to bring it every training, in your system as a squad and as an individual player. You had a lack of it in the last years. It’s not something that you build or progress in a week or a month. It has to be consistent, but it is a demand in top football nowadays. I think it’s quite clear City sets the standard in that and there are more teams but I think that also we can deliver that. We have seen it against Liverpool, we have seen it against Arsenal but now we have to do it on a consistent basis. That is what we have to work for now but this will not come overnight it will also take more than weeks, it will take months.”

Ten Hag: Our mistakes kept Omonia alive Video

Ten Hag: Our mistakes kept Omonia alive

Erik was really happy with our substitutes, but was frustrated by some avoidable mistakes...

Mr Ten Hag, can I ask how you balance that demand for sustainability and consistency, with the need to get results? Say a player has a bad game Thursday, are you then thinking of moving them out and bringing someone else in? Or is it giving them extra time to bring that consistency for Sunday?
“That’s a balance. I will give players trust. I will back them when they are in a worse shape. When they work hard, when they give their best in training sessions, when they take responsibility on the pitch, I will back them but also we are United and our ambitions are really high so you have to deliver. Every player in the squad has to take that responsibility individually and they have to do it in a team culture. That’s the demand from us, from the coaching staff, to the players.”

Is this responsibility linked to your use of the word bravery last Sunday as well? Do you think they’re the same thing?
“Yeah also I expect from my players that they are brave on the pitch, yeah definitely.”

In relation to intensity: as long as it’s legal, could your team be a little bit nastier, do you think? A little bit meaner in the way they play? The English word is nasty…
“Yeah, nasty. I know what it means. I think also in that manner we can progress. Sometimes also play a little bit more smart. We have too much bookings and some in the start I heard yeah in the Premier League they will play tough but I’m really wondering, we collect so many bookings and I don’t understand. The first booking on Sunday, I really don’t understand that. We want to play tough and we want to keep the game going and in the second minute already it’s a booking [Dalot on Grealish]. I think it’s a duel. Clearly it’s a foul, but then you get booked. And also I saw many other bookings I think: ‘Okay, is that necessary?’ But also I take it to the players. I have to keep the mirror [they have to look at themselves], that they have to play smart but they also have to play nasty as well.”