Every word from Erik's press conference

Friday 20 October 2023 13:29

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag addressed sections of the media ahead of our Premier League clash with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday evening (20:00 BST).

The Reds are bidding for back-to-back wins following the late drama against Brentford last time out, which saw Scott McTominay score twice from the bench in injury-time to rescue all three points.

Returning to domestic action after the recent international break, United have something of a busy schedule to contend with, as we prepare to take on the Blades, Copenhagen and Manchester City all in the space of the next eight days.

With our trip over the Pennines edging closer, Erik spoke about a number of different topics and below, you can both read, and watch, everything the boss had to say at Carrington...
Part one: Press conference v Sheffield United Video

Part one: Press conference v Sheffield United

Press conference | Erik ten Hag is asked about the club's future, Jadon Sancho, Andre Onana and more...

Erik first of all, there has been a lot of talk during the break about potential investment from Jim Ratcliffe. Are you aware of anything? Have you been told anything about what is happening?
“No. I am not involved in this and the others in the club are dealing with this. I am focusing on the team and I am focusing on the coming block [of games] and the most important priority, the next game. It is all about that.”

Someone who is not presumably going to be involved is Jadon Sancho. There has been a lot of talk about him. Is there any change to his situation as far as you are concerned?
“I have said everything I need to say about it.”
You went into the international break on the back of a pretty memorable ending to a game that looked like it wasn't going to turn out very well. Can you use those last couple of minutes against Brentford to almost restart your season?
“You can't restart, but what you can do is and what you see is there is a strong dressing room. They are aligned, they are all on one page and they are so determined and willing to win games. That is what we have seen in the last couple of minutes and we invested a lot in that game. In the end, we beat them because the opponent were beaten and physically we were very strong. We kept going and that was because mentally, we were very strong and of course that gives us spirit.”

Erik, there has been a lot of criticism and noise around Andre Onana and his performances. You know what a strong personality he is, I just want to know how he has been dealing with everything and how are you helping him through it?
“We know and he knows he will do much better. Every player who comes into the Premier League needs an integration period but he has to step up. But also big United keepers like Peter Schmeichel, David De Gea, also they started not too good. For Andre, it is good to know, from that little bit of history but also we live now and we live in the future. He has to make his future by making better performances. I'm sure he will do that and he has already showed that so many times in big clubs like Barcelona when he was young. [At] Ajax, he was in the semi-final of the Champions League, he was in the final of the Champions League [with Internazionale last season]. He is a great player and I am sure he will give us performances and I am sure we will have a lot of joy from him.”
Harry Maguire is still the subject of boos and abuse, as manager how hard is that for you to take?
“I haven't heard it. Not in England, as the last game for us, all the fans were supportive for him in the game against Brentford and also all the games before. I think we have a strong bond with our fans and so I don't think Harry is booed. I don't think he also deserves it because his performance against Brentford was very good and also for England, it was in particular a very good performance.”

Erik, Sheffield United may sit bottom of the Premier League table but does a side who are so desperate for three points, does that make them more dangerous tomorrow?
“Every game is difficult and as you have seen from their results, like against City and Spurs, they were very narrow wins in both. If you don't play your best football you can have a problem, so it is up to us.”

The impressive run United are looking to extend


The Reds face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday night.

United are currently fourth from bottom when it comes to your away record. Is there anything specifically you can put that down to or how are you going about trying to rectify that?
“We won our last game away. It is not about that [the table] and you cannot figure out the past, you can also say last year we were third in the league and we won a cup and were in another final. That is the past. We live in the future and we have to change the future, we have to take control of the future.”

Hi Erik. In terms of Victor Lindelof, I just wonder how he was after the situation he experienced earlier in the week? Is he OK to be involved this weekend?
“It is a terrible situation to be involved in and it is really sad for the victims and all the relatives, family, friends. From the victims in Brussels, it is a crazy world. Victor he had a problem, they had a bad experience the Swedish national team and as captain, he had to stay in front and give statements. But he dealt well with it and of course he is exhausted after this experience because they didn't sleep overnight. They then returned but just yesterday he was back in training and he dealt with the situation. Our thoughts are once again with Victor [Lindelof] and the victims and relatives. But we are looking forward to the game and Victor has energy and is ready to play this game.”

Which Reds are we most intrigued to see?


Our writers choose United players they are interesting in watching this weekend, as the Premier League makes its return.

Hi Erik. Bruno Fernandes has once again shown for Portugal during the European qualifiers the form which has revitalised the discussion that he seems a little lost at United lately. As many see him as being the best number 10 around, he has often been played on the right wing in the last few games. Would it be an option for you to swap the position of him and perhaps Mason Mount?
“As a squad and in periods during the season, you have to deal with certain situations. Like injuries when we didn't have a left-back or a right-winger in the last few games. Bruno is a solution as he is a very good right-winger as well. But he plays that position in his way and he has freedom there. He is playing there as not a typical right-winger but he comes inside to play almost the number 10 role. So he finds a situation where he can give the key pass, the final pass and score goals. That is always why you want to use a player like Bruno Fernandes because he is one of the players who creates the most chances in all the games, internationally too. In his stats, he is one of the players who creates the most in the Premier League. You always want to bring him into a position where he is at his best because he will contribute to the team's result.”