Every word from Erik's pre-Tottenham press conference

Wednesday 26 April 2023 12:30

Erik ten Hag met with the media on Wednesday afternoon at Carrington, ahead of Thursday's Premier League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

The Reds travel to the capital for the 20:15 BST kick-off looking to record a league double over Spurs, after defeating them at Old Trafford in October.

Ahead of the latest meeting between the sides, Erik conducted his pre-match press conference and was asked about the fitness of Bruno Fernandes, our opponents' recent managerial change, how best to deal with the threat of Harry Kane in tomorrow's match and more.

You can read every single word from the media briefing below, as the countdown to the fixture continues...

Press conference: Spurs v United Video

Press conference: Spurs v United

Watch Erik ten Hag's press conference to preview our important Premier League match in north London...

Hi Erik, obviously it went the distance on Sunday. How is the squad looking?
"There are some unavailable. Martinez, Varane. We have to see how Bruno Fernandes is. We don't know yet, he is a question mark. I think for the rest, we are quite ok."

We saw the image of the protective boot and the crutches online, but the fact he may be involved tomorrow suggests he's avoided a serious injury?
"It's more often that players, that we protect them. Prevention. But it has to settle down so we all have seen he played the full game and it happened in the first half. But, Thursday, is tomorrow, [it's] quick but we have to see what is possible."
You have come into a few of these conferences speaking about the team needing to bounce back. Your opposite number has to do exactly that, so how difficult will that make it for United?
"It was not so often [we had to] to bounce back! Definitely. But all the great teams, even Real Madrid [have setbacks]. But it's obvious. They [Spurs] had a really bad defeat and of course they are mad and that can be fuel for bouncing back. But like I said, it is about us. An opponent can never be more hungry [than] we [are]. That is how we have to prepare for the game and we have to be ready to go on the front foot and be dominant and dictate the game."

How have you done it, on the odd occasion this season, that you have done it [bounced back]? You've said the players have proved they are good players but when they don't play to your expectations, what do you tell them?
"It is not always the same. It depends on what is the reason behind [it]. It depends on the reason you tell them. It is about situational leadership, I call it."

Call it what, sorry?
"From out of the situation, you take the lead. You give the message. So that depends on the occasion."

Preview: Spurs v United


Here's everything you need to know about our big match against Tottenham Hotspur.

What significance do you put on this game in terms of the top four? How significant would a win be?
"Very. You see the table, then it is quite clear. But our approach will not change. Our approach is we want to win every game. It doesn't matter who the opponent is."

And the one standout player for Spurs is Harry Kane, the problems he poses for you and your defence. How do you go about marshalling him?
"It is quite clear his impact on the game from Spurs. And we have a plan, of course, for that and in the home game we did very well. So, yeah, for tomorrow, we need a very good plan as well. You have to defend as a team and he is a clever player so don't allow him to come in the situations where he can have a big impact on the game."

Tottenham announce a change in management


Our opponents in the Premier League on Thursday night have confirmed a new head coach on a short-term basis.

You spoke about bouncing back there and the setbacks you've had. How impressed are you with the character in the squad and that games like the Brentford match you followed it up with a win. What does that say about your players?
"They are resilient. So they are able to do it. It is not easy, but they can do it. Now we have to make the next step, to do it also in games when you get a setback. Maybe you didn't have a bad setback but then also show the character and personality [so] that in the game, you bounce back."

The question was also asked about what you say after a defeat. But how important is it that sometimes you leave them and maybe the Tottenham players it's the same this week, that they have to come together and speak about turning things around. It's not always on the manager to get the best out of his squad...
"No. But I am not in the position. I am not the Spurs manager, I am the Manchester United manager and we are in another place. But I have to make sure that our players are ready for tomorrow and facing a good opponent. It's a good team, good players and we are in a certain circumstance and I have to make sure that they have energy and [are] on the front foot to go into battle."