Every word from Erik's press conference: part two

Saturday 27 May 2023 22:30

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has addressed the media ahead of our final Premier League clash of the season against Fulham on Sunday (16:30 BST).

Speaking following our most recent success against Chelsea on Thursday evening, the Reds are bidding to end our league campaign on a high after successfully ensuring our qualification for next season's UEFA Champions League.

With a top-four position in the bag and the potential of a third-placed finish still up for grabs, Erik was keen to state that the focus is still on developing his players even further, with the boss also reflecting on his first season in Manchester.

Scroll down to read everything the boss had to say ahead of our final home game of the 2022/23 campaign...
Press conference part two: United v Fulham Video

Press conference part two: United v Fulham

Press conference part two | Erik discusses our upcoming FA Cup final and Marcus Rashford's development...

Erik we already we know it's been a great first season. You’ve won the League Cup, got in the top four, and [got to] an FA Cup final and to finish above Liverpool is never a bad thing. What do you have to do to actually take the next step, rather than the next step just being stopping City winning a Treble? What do you have to do and how do you do it?
"We have to look to ourselves and we want to win that cup, but that is for next Sunday. We have to do everything that's in our power. I think in many aspects we can improve with this group of players, with this team and I know where we have to improve."

So are saying there is a lot of room for improvement?
"Yes. I think there's a lot of room for improvement, yes."

And on a personal level you've been living in Manchester now for a year. How settled do you feel in Manchester? Does it feel like home? You know what the fans are like when they see you out and about. Any negatives? Or is it all or positive whenever people see you?
"It's I think it's never all positive, it's never all negative. But I think when you balance [it] it’s absolutely positive. I feel fantastic in this club. I feel really comfortable. We can work in very good conditions."

So you feel settled in Manchester? Absolutely?
"Yes, absolutely."

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Hi, Erik. You said at the very start that this season is a success with what you've achieved because you have made the FA Cup final. Does that make it something of a free hit for you guys given you've achieved, and Manchester City are the favourites, or is it a chance to send a statement going into next season before August?
"When I was here one year ago I said we want to win trophies. Now, we have won one, so we want to go for the highest. But that's going to be a long, long way away. It's going to be a project and they are not done over one year, we're talking over one two or three years. But when you have an opportunity to win a trophy, for every player, that's massive and I have to count, but there are not so many players in our team, in our squad who have won the FA Cup and the FA Cup is huge for everyone in the world. You can have won Champions League, you can have won so many titles, but when you have the opportunity to win the FA Cup [it's important] because the FA Cup I think has, all over the world, a huge reputation. So I know from the Netherlands how big the FA Cup is. So when we have the opportunity to win it and we know [about City], but also we are realistic. It's not going to be easy, but I can assure you one thing, we will give everything that's in our power to get the cup."

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Marcus Rashford has scored 30 goals, the first United player to achieve that since the last championship season a decade ago. Do you think there's still room for improvement from Marcus and does what he has achieved this season mean that there's less pressure on you to get a goal scorer, perhaps in the summer?
"The first part I think, yeah. With Marcus, there's a lot of room for improvement in his game and I'm convinced he could score even more. I think when you take for instance the last ten games he didn't score so many goals, I think only two or three. He can improve but I'm happy. Where he was last season and what he did now and that he brings himself back. We supported him where we could, with the way we play but also in his mental mindset. So we are happy with that. But yeah, we have to push for more and I'm sure he's capable to score 40 goals in a season. And to also make, for him, the next step."

Does that perhaps take pressure off you bringing somebody in the summer as a striker?
"We need across the squad more scoring abilities and you can't be dependent on one. But it can also come out of this squad. But we need more scoring abilities."