Every word from part one of Erik’s pre-Forest press conference

Tuesday 24 January 2023 13:38

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has spoken to reporters ahead of our Carabao Cup semi-final first leg away to Nottingham Forest.

The boss sat down with the media at Carrington on Tuesday afternoon to preview Wednesday’s tie at The City Ground. 

In the first part, which you can now see in full below, the availability of a United trio was among the talking points, as was the importance of winning trophies, the atmosphere at The City Ground and our busy fixture schedule. 

Scroll down to see every question put to the boss, and his responses…
Part one: Erik's pre-Forest press conference Video

Part one: Erik's pre-Forest press conference

Press conference part one | Get all of the latest news and views from the boss ahead of our semi-final first leg...

Obviously, Sunday was frustrating. How have the team reacted and how important would making a first final be for this team's progress?
"We've left it behind. We've set the right conclusions and then we have to move forward, and quickly because tomorrow's a big game. So, focus [is] on that."

You were without a few players at the weekend. Will any of them be back and Jadon Sancho has been back in training, is there a chance we will see him tomorrow, or perhaps is it going to be the Reading game, or some other time?
"No, the players who were not available for the Arsenal game - so Dalot, Martial, Sancho - are also not available for tomorrow."
How important is a trophy? A lot of people talk about top four, this club wants to qualify for the Champions League and play in the Champions League. So how important is winning a trophy?
"It's about that, it's about winning trophies. We have a good opportunity, but we have to go from game to game. So now we play Forest, two legs, so focus on the first leg and don't think further ahead because that will distract. So, the only aim for tomorrow is win that game."

They [Forest] have got a good record recently and also at home they seem to do very well. The atmosphere is quite intense. Have you been told about The City Ground and have you been told about the last time Manchester United played there?
"Well, it's a long time ago that United played there. But I think we like that, a fanatical audience, it's nice to play for. It will be a good atmosphere, I think that will motivate the players and we have to get ready for that."

Ten Hag's team news update


The manager rules three players out of the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Nottingham Forest.

Erik, you were a little critical of your side's defending in conceding three goals against Arsenal on Sunday. Luke Shaw said after the game as well they were a bit lax. Is that a major area of concern you'll be focusing on now?
"No, because in a lot of games I think we defended very well. We have had a lot of clean sheets. Against Man City, we defended very well. I think in general also against Arsenal we defended very well. I don't think they got clean shots, there was only one time that was from a free-kick. But for the rest, they were only shots from distance when we had a lot of defenders from us in between the ball and the goal. And that's what I meant after, all the goals were avoidable and so it can't happen. That was my point, when you concede three goals in a top game, it is very difficult to win the game. That is what happened so that is one of the conclusions. So, it can't happen. We set that conclusion. We talked about it, we showed them. We have to learn and to take this lesson."

Ten Hag: Defending not a concern


Erik isn't prepared to forget a season of defensive improvement following Sunday's defeat to Arsenal.

You're playing an awful lot of matches at the moment, eight matches in February and there are only 28 days in the month. Do you prefer it that way - obviously it means you're successful - or is that an impact on training and you being able to work better with the players?
"As you said, it is obviously because we are successful and we are in a good direction. Not successful, but successful for the moment because in January you don't win trophies, not even in February, but in March [late February] we can win one, so we have to aim for that and go for that. But it's more about getting in the right positions when it's April to go for trophies."

Can you tell us what kind of effect it had on you when you won your first trophy as a manager, and the kind of effect that had on your team as well in terms of the belief of where they could go?

"It was the best feeling what you can have, winning a trophy. I had the luck in my career to win some trophies and it's magnificent, especially for the fans. It's so great. I think the fans here, they have some experience, especially the older ones. And now it's a period when Manchester United didn't win trophies and it's too long ago, so we are aware of that fact and we have to do everything to bring a trophy in."