Erik ten Hag

Every word from Erik's pre-Sheriff press conference

Wednesday 26 October 2022 13:05

Erik ten Hag spoke to the press on Wednesday afternoon, ahead of Manchester United's Europa League match against Sheriff on Thursday night.

The Reds are looking to record a second group win over the Moldovan side, having defeated them in Chisinau 2-0 on matchday two of this year's competition.

Thursday's match is the first time Sheriff will play at Old Trafford in their history, with Ten Hag's side looking to record a positive result to maintain pressure on Group E leaders Real Sociedad.

Ahead of the clash, under the lights at the Theatre of Dreams, Erik answered questions on Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, and more.

You can read every single word from Ten Hag's pre-match media briefing below...

Ten Hag & Eriksen's Sheriff press conference Video

Ten Hag & Eriksen's Sheriff press conference

Press conference | Don't miss what Erik ten Hag and Christian Eriksen told the media at Carrington...

Could you just update us on whether Cristiano Ronaldo is going to be involved and Raphael Varane's injury?
"Yes, Cristiano will be in the squad tomorrow and Rapha Varane isn't in the squad. He will be out, certainly until the World Cup so he will not play in this block for Manchester United."

Can he [Varane] play in the World Cup?
"I think so, but the prognosis we have to wait. We have to see how it develops, how the rehab will develop."

Can you explain to us any conversations you've had with Ronaldo and how difficult this period has been?
"It's not difficult but I think we set everything and we answered all the questions. So he was out for one game and now he is back in the squad as usual."
You said you answered all the questions, but I'm going to ask again...
"I won't answer anymore. So all the questions I think everything we covered last week, everything we explained so we have to focus on the game tomorrow. We have an important game because we want to be number one in the group so let's focus on that."

I was just going to ask about his return to training. How has that been?
"What I say, I don't have to do it anymore. He is returning and focused on the game and that is important. Cristiano is involved in the game tomorrow."

Can we talk about the other injuries. Have you got good news on the injury-front? We saw Harry Maguire is back training...
"Yeah, they are all back in training. Donny [van de Beek], Harry [Maguire], Aaron [Wan-Bissaka] are all in training for preparation for tomorrow's game."

So they're back in contention for tomorrow?
"We will assess after the training, together with the medical [staff] I will take the decision."
Erik, do you think Harry will have an important role to play for you before the World Cup, with Raphael injured?
"He always will play an important role. So he was injured, [I'm] happy he is on the way back, so now he has to get back into games."

Some people will be looking to the World Cup and seeing if he will get enough minutes to be involved. Do you see him getting that gametime?
"I understand the interest, but especially we look at Manchester United. We have to get the right results and performances so that is the main object I look at."

If you really needed to, do you have funds to make a significant signing in January?
"In this moment, I said also last week, we focus on the games. In the background, of course, [there is] always continually a process. We look at the squad and we want to live top sport culture and you have to always examine how you can improve, and that is what we will do."

Erik, I know Facundo Pellistri isn't spoken about a lot, but he looks likely to be going to the World Cup. Do you see him as an option for the squad?
"He was injured [for a] long period [after] Atletico Madrid; bad injury. So he is now returning. We have some young players in the background in offensive positions. [There is] quite good competition there and they have to battle for it to convince us, to convince me, to be in the team. He is one of the options."

Hi Erik, just on Harry [Maguire] - There was a lot of focus on his performances before he got injured. Do you think the injury has allowed him to get away from it all and he will be in a better mindset when he comes back?
"It's always about performance and about presentation, and I think when he is recording his qualities, when he is acting like that, he is a great player. [He has] great capabilities to do the job for us."

Erik, we saw Varane's reaction last week, so the World Cup is obviously on players' minds. Is there a message you send to these players to focus on these games?
"Yes, but focus is so important because if you don't have the right focus the risk that you get injured is even more. They want also to go in the right shape, in the right form to the World Cup so therefore it is important that they are in the rhythm, keep the rhythm so that every game you have to be good and well prepared because that gives you a better chance that you are good for the World Cup as well. And then the third point is we are in the season and it's an important block as well. We have to qualify in Europe, we want to be number one in the group. That gives us out one leg or one round, and that's important as well because that means less games in February and that is also going to be really a period with a lot of games. But we also have to be confident and also for the league we have to get into the right position. And then we have the cup and as we are here, we want to win every game, we want to win every trophy. So, stay in the right mood in the right focus and do it in the spirit of the team."

How to watch and follow United v Sheriff


Here’s your one-stop guide to Thursday’s Europa League clash.

So you can't rest the players, but international managers might prefer that?
"I think it's the wrong idea because they have only one week and then the World Cup starts, so keep in the rhythm. Keep in the right fitness, in the right shape, and then they will be ready for the World Cup. Or they are best prepared - of course it's not optimum, that's also clear, it's a different World Cup but that is also something the nations managers have to deal with. But I think this is the way it has to go."

Erik, we've been good in possession. As the coach, how do you get us to the next stage of development in terms of being clinical in front of goal? Is it more mental or tactical?
"It's both, but clearly in our attacking game we have to develop and there's also some really small details that makes a huge difference, we have to work on. And for instance, and I showed the team as well, in that first half in Chelsea we bring just two less people in front, so we had to push out more from the back, we had to do more to get players in front. And we were too neutral, and too defensive to get the players forward because we have to get numbers in the box of the opponents to score goals." 

Lisandro Martinez celebrated with a fan and got a yellow card for it. Is that what you're looking for, the connection between the fans and the players and the passion?
"We are United. And so it's on the pitch and we want to have a good relationship. We want to get a vibe in and work together and I think Licha really express that always in his game. With his [passion] what he's bringing in. So every challenge, every duel, he gives everything he has, and I think the fans they love it. Not every player is like that but I think you need some players in your team who express that and I think that also gives a really good connection with fans."