Every word from Erik's press conference

Friday 12 May 2023 14:00

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has addressed the media ahead of our key Premier League clash with Wolves at Old Trafford on Saturday (15:00 BST).

The Reds will be bidding to get back to winning ways following back-to-back away defeats against Brighton and West Ham, with Julen Lopetegui's side the next test in our attempt to nail a top-four spot.

The race for Champions League football is very much on, as both Liverpool and Tottenham try to chase us down, so three points in M16 could be hugely valuable this weekend.

Ahead of the encounter, Erik took time to field questions from journalists, providing the very latest team news, as well as speaking out on loanee Amad, among other topics. 

Scroll down to read every word the boss had to say at Carrington earlier today...

Press conference part one: United v Wolves Video

Press conference part one: United v Wolves

Press conference | Watch part one of the manager’s media briefing, discussing team news and Wolves at home…

Hi Erik, can I check on the fitness of your squad please? Have you got any players back from injury [or] any new injuries that you can tell us about?
''Yeah, Rapha Varane is back and Rashford is doubtful.''

What's wrong with Marcus?
''He has a problem, an injury on his leg, so he is a big question mark for tomorrow. But we are happy Rapha Varane is back.''

How confident are you of Rashford being available for this game?
''As I say, doubtful, more than doubtful. So [there is] a big question mark.''

Raphael Varane being back is a huge boost for the club. What difference do you think he can make in these matches with his experience and know-how of getting the job done?
''Yes. Experience and [he] knows how to win. He will lead how to win and will guide us.''

In terms of the week you have had, obviously it was the first time you have had that number of days to work with the squad in a long time. What difference can that make and what have you been able to do practically with the group that busy weeks don't enable you to?
''We had a week and we needed it, to make a rest, to reload, recharge. To get the energy back, because we had a lack of it in both games, in the last two games. I see a lot of energy, joy on the pitch and so we could also work in detail on some facts. So it was good.''

Erik you have suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time since August. You mentioned the need there for a bit of a reset. Have you sensed any nervousness among the players about the run-in?
''No, we are convinced in what we are doing, as we had a lot of success and won a lot of games in the way we worked. So the matter of work and the way we played, the structures are really clear but we have to execute them. That was the problem in some last games, we have to show 100 per cent discipline in rules and principals. When we do that, we are successful.''

Team news for United v Wolves


One Red is set to return on Saturday, but there's a "question mark" over a key United attacker.

Marcus Rashford being doubtful is obviously a huge blow – he's scored so many goals for the team this season. Is this an opportunity for one or two other players to take on that goalscoring burden?
''Definitely. But we have players who can score goals and they have the chance [and] the opportunity now to show.'' 

What about your goalkeeper, David De Gea. You backed him after the mistake at West Ham. How has he been this week?
''Good, as well. We can't ignore it, but individual mistakes are part of football. That was [in] the Brighton game as well, we made a big individual mistake as well. Sometimes it happens, [but] it should not happen. When you are in the right focus it will not happen. But it is still part of it, the reset of this week.''

You have been incredible at home this season, and not lost at home since the opening day at Old Trafford in the league. Some of your predecessors struggled with that. What has been the secret do you think to your home form this season?
''We believe in the way we work. The way we play and then the togetherness with the fans, so I think we have a strong bond. There is a real good ambience at Old Trafford and I think it is difficult for opponents to arrive here and to face us.'' 

Hi Erik, just asking about a player who is currently not with the squad but is doing really well elsewhere, Amad Diallo. He has been named Young Player of the Year at Sunderland. Do you see his future at Old Trafford?
''Yes, of course. We loan such players to let them develop and make progress. To bring them back... that is the aim of a loan. We are really strong on them in the matter of the way we mentor them and so we follow them and we have communication through all the season, especially Darren Fletcher. He invests a lot in such processes and the aim is to bring them back as a better player and with better experience.'' 

Alejandro Garnacho was on the bench against West Ham. Is he likely to get a few more minutes having come back from injury this time around?
''He has one more week training, definitely. Yeah, so he is available and we have seen he can bring something extra in the team.''

Hi Erik. I'm sure you will say you are concentrating on yourselves but, certainly to the fans, they will be very aware of the team that could overtake you in fourth place and Liverpool being on your shoulders. Do you recognise the importance, of all teams, to stop them overtaking you? Much like the importance of the final against Man City for fans – to stop them and likewise in the league?
''It's clear, we know that, but it is not important. We know that we have everything in our hands and we have to bring our performance and then it is not important. So important is the opponent we face tomorrow and that's Wolves. We have to take them serious and they have done a great job, so we must focus on that. They also have deficits, so we must take advantage of that and we don't have other opponents than tomorrow.''

Presumably, though, it is impossible to ignore the run they are on and the differing fortunes of both teams at the moment?
''Of course we can ignore that, why not? Because it is not important, we have everything in our hands and as long as we have things in our hands, we are in control. So then as long as we have that, we are not dependent on them; we are dependent on ourselves.''