Erik ten Hag

Every word from Erik's press conference

Friday 05 May 2023 13:30

Manchester United travel to West Ham United on Sunday (19:00 BST kick-off), as we seek to get back to winning ways in the Premier League, amid the chase for Champions League places.

The Reds fell to a late defeat at Brighton on Thursday night, and Erik ten Hag conducted his pre-match press conference to preview our game with the Hammers while still at the Amex Stadium.

Erik discussed Antony's passion, our top-four hopes and the need for Champions League football, as well as providing some team news for the trip to East London.

Read on for the latest on Alejandro Garnacho, plus Ten Hag's comments on West Ham boss - and former United manager - David Moyes, and more...

Press conference: West Ham v United Video

Press conference: West Ham v United

Press conference part one | Ten Hag on West Ham, our Champions League hopes and Antony’s passion…

Is it going to be hard picking players up after the manner of that defeat and the tight turnaround between games?
“Every time this season when we have had a defeat, we bounce back. So, I count on my players and my team to do it again. So, there is no time to stay in this [mood]. We go to the game against West Ham United, and we will all focus on that. We will prepare them, we make a good plan. The players have to take responsibility and they will do, I count on that. They have to do it and they can do it, because we have the evidence this season that every time we had a disappointment, they bounce back.”

Will it be the same squad or is there a chance of some players coming back?
“No. I think it will be the same squad. Maybe one player: [Alejandro] Garnacho, I have to see. Maybe he can be involved but we will have to see how the progress can go.”

How comfortable do you feel about getting top four? You have that gap with Liverpool, but with them winning in the week and the result today, how do you feel about your top-four chances?
“I think we have had quite a good run so far. In our last five, we had four wins and a draw. We have everything in our hands. So, we have to focus on our performance. I trust my players, so I am quite convinced about it, yeah.”

Antony seemed to be the focus of a lot of attention against Brighton. How do you channel his passion to be proactive on the field? He is a very passionate man, how do you keep him focused?
“I think his passion is a strength. Of course, there is a certain level. You have to control it. You need passion and desire to win your games and to win battles in the game. I think this is very strong with him, he is very ambitious. So, as I say, don’t go over the top. Stay focused on your game and what the game needs. If he does that, he is a great player.”

Is he focused at the moment?
“Yes, I think his performance, his improvement, it is quite obvious and clear.”

Team news for West Ham trip


Erik will have to rely on largely the same squad as at Brighton, but he hopes to have one Red back from injury.

West Ham have conceded nine in three and are clearly having defensive issues at the moment, up against David Moyes, a very experienced manager. How can you exploit them defensively and what is it like coming up against someone so experienced in the Premier League who can change things because he has that knowledge?
“It is an experienced and fantastic manager. So long already in the Premier League. I am looking forward [to it]. We faced them this season twice, because also we faced them in the FA Cup and it’s going to be another great game. Every game is a battle, every game is a challenge. We have to get ready for that game.”

How important is it for Man United to be in the Champions League and to have Champions League football next season? Is it vital?
“Manchester United, of course, we need to be there, in the Champions League. We want to be there because we want to challenge with the best teams in the world. So we do everything that’s in our power to get that done.”

Antony's passion is a strength


Erik ten Hag believes the Brazilian needs to harness his energy to become a great player.

People are looking at the takeover and the uncertainty: is Champions League football vital for your summer?
“I think it is always vital. We have to be in the Champions League and it is a battle because in the Premier League, many clubs are competing for it. We have the power and we have to fight for it as well. But we want to be there and will do everything to get there.”