Every word from Ten Hag's press conference: Part one

Friday 29 December 2023 13:44

Erik ten Hag said he is looking forward to having conversations with INEOS, the club's new investors, as he spoke to the media ahead of Manchester United's trip to Nottingham Forest.

During the first part of his pre-match press conference at Carrington this afternoon, the manager explained there has been no time for such dialogue since Sir Jim Ratcliffe reached an agreement to acquire a shareholding in United on Christmas Eve.

The Reds are still working through a busy festive schedule on the pitch and Ten Hag’s focus is therefore firmly on Saturday’s Premier League game at the City Ground, as his team look to kick on from a brilliant Boxing Day comeback to beat Aston Villa.

That thrilling 3-2 victory also remained a talking point in the opening half of his media briefing, which you can see in full below, while the manager also shared the latest news on our injured players and addressed Andre Onana’s selection by Cameroon for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.

Part one: Press conference v Forest Video

Part one: Press conference v Forest

Press conference part one | Erik discusses injuries, INEOS investment, the Africa Cup of Nations and more...

Hi Erik, you're facing a Nottingham Forest team that are looking a bit different under Nuno Espirito Santo. What are you expecting from them, and will you have any players back available that were unavailable for the last match?
"To start with that last [question], I don't think so. So, it will be a similar squad as we had against Villa. You see with them [Forest], the reaction when the new manager is coming in, you see the spirit. We have to be ready for that and it's always about us, but be aware of it. They have the right spirit, and they built the confidence but we did as well, so we have to continue in the performance." 

Obviously, the games are coming thick and fast right now and there's a lot of talk outside about the impact and influence of INEOS after their investment was announced. Have you spoken to anyone at INEOS yet? And have you got any plans to if you haven't?
"As you said, the schedule is so condensed, so I haven't had the time so far to speak with them, but it will come, and I look forward [to it]. They want to work with me, and I want to work with them. We will have the conversations, the meetings, so we will see."

Are you expecting them to be regular presences here? Will they be across your work on a day-to-day basis?
"Listen, I'm focused on the games so far. So, as I said, in this moment, I don't want to have distractions but in the coming days, weeks, there will be time for this and then I will know more. But I think it's a good thing, it's very positive, we are really looking forward to working together. INEOS wants to work with me, with this infrastructure, and I want to work with them."
Can I just ask about Andre Onana? He has been picked in the large Cameroon squad and we expect him to be picked in the main squad. They have a training camp next week, so will tomorrow's game be his last game? Or are you trying to make him available for [the] Wigan [game]? What is the situation there?
"The situation is that we are talking, we have good relationships with all the federations. It's about Sof [Amrabat], it's about Hannibal, it's about Andre. So, we're talking with them."

When are you expecting to have Casemiro and Mason Mount back?
"I think in mid-January, we expect many players back, Mason [Mount], Casemiro, [Lisandro] Martinez, [Tyrell] Malacia. So, we expect Harry Maguire [back] of course. We expect many players to return in January."

Can I ask about the comeback against Aston Villa? Obviously Manchester United's performances are always heavily scrutinised but for you, did that feel like a benchmark kind of performance going forward? And, also, how do you get that consistency in your results?
"Also, that's about us, so we proved despite all the setbacks - not any team can deal with so many setbacks we have had. So the number of points we are not satisfied [with]. But when we have all the players back, this squad is strong and we proved it against Arsenal, against Liverpool, against Villa who are number one, two and three in the league. We went head-to-head and we could have won all the games. We didn't, but definitely in the last game our side proved it. We showed how hungry we are, [we showed] determination. [With] the right mentality, we can beat anyone."

Was it especially pleasing to produce that kind of performance with Sir Dave Brailsford in the stands, who is obviously from INEOS? Does that send a positive message to INEOS?
"No, we always want to win. It doesn't matter who is in the lead, we are appointed here to win. So, in this area we need a winning culture, no matter who is in the lead, no matter who is the owner. But, of course, owners can inspire you."

Ten Hag's team news for Forest trip


Erik ten Hag delivers the latest update on his squad, before our final fixture of 2023.

There have been a few times this season when Manchester United have got big results and they've been described as 'turning points.' Why is this victory against Villa different?
"So, it showed once again this squad is strong. Even when many players are not on board, we can compete, we can go head-to-head with the strongest teams in this league. So, when the players are back, we can beat anyone if the mentality is right and that's up to us. We have to get consistency in."

What will that goal for Rasmus Hojlund do for his confidence, and did you ever have any doubts he would score in the Premier League?
"I have to repeat myself, I trust him. I know his goals in the Champions League showed what he did as a young player in Denmark, in Austria, in Italy and he is a very strong character. But, of course, this goal will give him confidence and belief that he is going to score, and he is going to score more goals from this point on."

Part two of the press conference will be available in the United App and on ManUtd.com from 22:30 GMT this evening.