Part one: Every word from Erik’s press conference

Friday 22 December 2023 13:16

Below you can read every word from the first part of Erik ten Hag’s pre-match press conference to preview Saturday’s Premier League game away to West Ham United.

Ten Hag’s Reds travel to the London Stadium for a 12:30 GMT kick-off and, ahead of the fixture, the boss has been speaking to reporters at Carrington this (Friday) afternoon.

The opening half of his media briefing contains fitness updates on five Reds – Casemiro, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martinez and Mason Mount – and is available to view word-for-word here.

Erik is also asked about goalscoring in his team, the new European Super League proposal and how he plans to spend time with his family at Christmas around a busy period for his side.
Part one: Press conference v West Ham Video

Part one: Press conference v West Ham

Press conference part one | Erik has provided the latest injury updates and previewed Saturday's match at West Ham...

Hi Erik, happy Christmas in advance. Anyone available for West Ham that wasn't available for Liverpool?
"We have some doubts, we have [had] some illnesses during the week, so we have to see who is available for tomorrow. Hopefully they are recovered but we have to see."

You said in Copenhagen that you didn't expect to see Casemiro or Lisandro Martinez back before Christmas, I'm just wondering what the update with those two is at the moment?
"So, they are not available before Christmas. Mid-January we expect them back."

With the other defenders, you had Willy Kambwala on the bench at Liverpool because of defensive shortages, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, any update on them? And Mason Mount, is there a timescale on him at the moment?
"Mason Mount similar [to Casemiro and Martinez] into January. Harry Maguire, I expect him [back] early on [in January], Victor Lindelof is not available [for the West Ham game]. He has done surgery, so he will be out for a couple of weeks."

What happened there?
"What happened? He had a problem and so [its] personal is that, but he has to do the surgery."
Erik, you haven't scored for three games and you're one of the lowest scorers in the league, I know in the past you've defended Rasmus Hojlund and it's not just about one player, but why are you struggling to score so much?
"First of all, I think we've played very strong teams with Liverpool and Bayern Munich, that's obvious, and then before [against Bournemouth] we had a poor game as we have seen. There are always issues but we know also we have to improve, in our game we played very good against Bayern Munich and Liverpool but we should have created more chances and then, of course, we should have been more clinical in such moments."

Is it about getting more players into scoring situations or do you believe you're creating the chances, just not taking them?
"I think we can definitely improve, so it's not about one player, but it's about the total group of us. So, as you know, my philosophy, we have to attack with 11. It's not only about one player but it's about everyone. So, we have to get the movements better, the ball decisions, the decision-making on the ball has to be better, and sometimes also we have to be more clinical. I think the best chance on Sunday in Liverpool was ours and it was a great attack."

Erik, the European Super League is back on the agenda this week, what do you make of the revised concept, the new format with promotion and relegation?
"I refer to the statement the club brought out yesterday."

The club's position is clear, the court have ruled though, essentially, it's changed the footballing landscape in some way, shape or form, do you think that change is inevitable within European football at some point in the future?
"I have to look in more detail if I want to express opinion about that."

Ten Hag's team news for Hammers test


The boss gives a detailed update on his squad ahead of Saturday's game in the capital.

Can I just ask you about January, about transfers? Do you know yet whether you're going to have money to spend? Do you want to strengthen the squad?
"So, the current squad, I'm happy. As we get our players back, I'm sure we have a good squad. I think a lot of our [form], the way it went in the first half of the season, this was a reason behind [it] because many players were not available and I'm sure when all the players are available, on board... it looks like Casemiro will be back, Martinez will be back, Mason Mount will be back. We will be much stronger after the winter." 

Can I just pick up on the lack of goals, I understand it's not just about one player, Rasmus Hojlund is a very young man and has come to a big club, a different league, a different country and not scored in the Premier League yet, I just wondered, personally, how you think he is coping with the pressure and going so long without a first goal in the league?
"Of course, we are open and he is open and I think his mentality is great. I think he is a very good performer under stress, and he deals with that. But it's not only about Rasmus Hojlund, it's about Marcus Rashford, it's also about Antony, it's also about Bruno Fernandes, it's about Scott McTominay. There are many [players who can score]. Don't forget our full-backs, who have to be a big part in that. I'm sure we work on that fact as a group, from offensive players who are contributing there or should contribute there and I'm sure we will improve, especially if our squad is full. It's then better in balance and we should create more chances."
You've had a free week this week which is quite rare for Manchester United, especially this season, what difference does that make for you and the team heading to this challenge against West Ham?
"First of all, we had such a busy programme, so we gave the lads some days off, also because we go in a busy week again with three games, so they need it from a physical approach, they need a rest. [To] get away from football, also mentally, so now I expect they are fresh, and we can go into a massive week that is a great opportunity for us. With the good result of Liverpool in our back, that will give the team confidence we can compete with the best teams in this league, and now we have to get forward. So, we have to make [the] next steps and demand more from each other to make that step forward."

Erik, happy Christmas. I know you've got a period coming up with lots of games, but are you going to be able to have some time off with your family? Have you got any plans?
"My plans has to be around the games because the games will be my key point to focus on, as I just said we have three big games to play in this week, we're really looking forward [to it]. It's always a massive period for any club in the Premier League, but definitely now for us, so we will focus on that. But there will be some time in the spare time to join in my family and have some time together to celebrate Christmas."