Every word from Ten Hag's pre-West Ham press conference

Friday 28 October 2022 13:30

Soon after Manchester United defeated Sheriff Tiraspol 3-0 on Thursday night, Erik ten Hag briefed the media ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with West Ham.

The Hammers travel to the Theatre of Dreams tenth in the table, following their first 12 matches of the season. Ten Hag's side have played 11 and we are currently sixth.

Ahead of what is our last home fixture in the Premier League before the winter World Cup, Erik answered questions about Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, United's attacking impetus, and more.

You can read every single word from the Dutchman's media briefing below...

Ten Hag's pre-West Ham press conference Video

Ten Hag's pre-West Ham press conference

Erik discusses Ronaldo's goalscoring, Martial's fitness and van de Beek, ahead of our final game in October...

Hi Erik, Ronaldo's goal against Sheriff was his third goal of the season, and last year he got 18 in the league and 24 in total. Can he return those numbers again this season?
"It's up to him. But I think when you collect all the chances he creates - the team creates for him in the last weeks - he was there. You see, he is still capable to get into the right positions and I know he's capable to finish them, so it's possible."

You've had good results against teams that have wanted to attack you, but when you are playing against West Ham, who may defend a bit deeper. Do you think your team are becoming used to that and finding ways to break them down?
"We have seen today [against Sheriff]. Obviously, on Sunday, it's better quality. The defending is better, they are physically better, they are technically better, so that's going to be tough. So we have to be really good on the ball, be really dynamic especially to find gaps. We are aware that you have to be good because they have good counters, so [the match against Sheriff] was a good warm-up, but Sunday it will be much tougher. We are aware of that."
Is it a case that Cristiano has to fight his way back into your Premier League team, which is your first XI?
"Yeah, I know that some see it like this, but I don't have a Europe team and I don't have a Premier League team. It's about, I look to the opponent [and see] what we need against that opponent, and now I have to focus on West Ham United for Sunday and then we will pick the team to start but also to have plan B or plan C, in the pocket to win that game. And that is what we need, finally, to win games, and we not only need 11 players, we need the whole squad."

But with Marcus [Rashford] up front and Bruno [Fernandes] in behind, with two wide players, that had been working well for you...
"I think that worked well, but I think tonight with Cristiano and Marcus in the back that worked well, that worked very well. I was happy with that and I must say also Donny [van de Beek] came in and in the last part he had also some good positions, in-between the lines, so I think also that combination was good."
90 in 20: United v Sheriff Video

90 in 20: United v Sheriff

Extended highlights | Watch 20 minutes of highlights from United's final home game of the Europa League group stage...

You mention Donny there. How pleasing is it to see him back, and what do you want to see from him in the next few weeks?
"Yeah, he was long out, so I was happy to give him some minutes because you need to get in the right form. But he'll have to work himself back. He is not even one week in training, same as Harry Maguire so I was really happy to bring Harry and Donny [on], to give them minutes because we need them in the coming weeks."

And will he play for you regularly if he keeps applying himself?
"When you analyse the season so far, then if he was available then he should get his chance. Because we need goals and I know Donny is really good in the position to score goals but also he is really good in defence transition."

Erik, is Anthony Martial likely to play before the season pauses for the World Cup?
"I hope. But he making progress. He is outside and he is working there. So he is on the pitch and we are waiting for his step back in team training."

Lindelof: I'm happy to have them back


The Swedish centre-back was thrilled to see the duo return from injury against Sheriff.

Is it safe to say that with the current situation with attackers that you would want a striker?
"I think in this moment we are not focusing on that. In this moment we have to work on developing our team, develop our attacking department, our attacking game. And we have strikers, we have good ones, and now we are working on the progress of that."

You seemed fairly confident a couple of weeks back that Martial would be returning soon. Has there been a setback?
"Yeah, he had a setback as he fell out against Everton with his back, and so he had some injuries. It was really frustrating for us but also for him and we have seen that he played good in pre-season. He has [not many] minutes, but he scored already three goals. In Everton, he had also an important role with the first goal, his assist for Antony, so it would be really good to have him back because he can make a difference. He can score goals but also linking up he's really important - and the pressing from him is really good."
Rashford: Patience was key Video

Rashford: Patience was key

Marcus Rashford reflects on the Reds' positive outing against Sheriff, which included his 99th United goal...

How important is it to get more goals from this team? Should you be getting to the goal differences of Arsenal and Man City with the players that you've got?
"Developing a team takes time. You can't go from zero to 100 and you have to construct it from downsize. You need development before you go to the top, to the roof, and unfortunately it takes time. I don't have time, I'm really the most impatient, but I have to [be], so it's quite clear. Now I think we are getting better in defending - defending with 11. I think players are more and more aware of it that we have to do it with 11. Also, our building up I think we are improving with game to game so now we have to do also more on developing our attacking game. But also, that's the most difficult part, so it takes even more time. You can't increase the tempo of that process, but I want it. We have to take the time for it."

Erik, what's changed since Manchester City? You've had five wins and two draws. Is it attitude more than anything?
"First, Man City is a really good team and also we came out of an international break and in that game players just forgot our rules and our principles and our rules and our beliefs. When we play against City, [if] one player makes a mistake and then it [falls] like a pack of cards and it didn't work. We have seen on the day and then we also see it is massive, and you get good lessons for the weeks after. That's also what I said after, but you don't want to have the experience from such days. But sometimes -"

- You've learnt those lessons?
"I think some lessons we have learned, but for the future we have to improve a lot to face such opponents [who are of] the level of Man City."