Every word from Erik's post-match press conference

Saturday 23 December 2023 17:42

Erik ten Hag says his Manchester United side must stick together in order to turn the tide back in our favour.

The Reds were defeated 2-0 in Saturday's away trip to West Ham, courtesy of goals from Jarrod Bowen and Mohammed Kudus. 

Speaking to the media after full-time at the London Stadium, the boss discussed our lack of goals and declared his faith in his players to improve in the coming games. 

Read on to see everything the Dutchman had to say following our loss in the capital...

Erik's post-match press conference Video

Erik's post-match press conference

Press conference | Ten Hag addresses the team's lack of goals and Hojlund's early withdrawal v West Ham...

What are your thoughts on today?
"We didn't score the goal. The meaning of the first goal [is so important]. I think we were controlling the game and didn't give West Ham United anything, and we created three good chances and we didn't take them. And then one moment of switching off and we are down, we are losing the game and I think that is how I see the performance."

Do you think with these forwards - that's four games without a goal now - that you can have a successful season, or do you have to bring in reinforcements?
"As I said before, we have players who can do it. They proved it in the past. They can do it. But we also have to acknowledge the facts that we didn't do, as a team. And so, yes, we have to take responsibility. And yes, of course, football is about winning games and it's about scoring goals."

Once again it feels like one step forward and one step backwards. What gives you the confidence that you can turn this around now?
"That, first of all, we have issues. We have had many setbacks, injuries, etc, but the players who are on the pitch are good enough to win the game. So then it's also about getting into the box and make sure you are there. Make sure you have the willingness to arrive there and you have the willingness and the clinical [nature] to score a goal."

But do you feel that you and these players can turn this around?
"They are capable of it. I know Rashford can score a goal, Hojlund can score a goal, Antony can score a goal, Garnacho can score a goal, Bruno can score a goal, Scott McTominay can score a goal. So, yeah, we have the scoring abilities in our squad and also from set plays. In this moment, we are not doing it and they have to stick together, but also they have to believe in themselves that they can do it and that they get there, where you have to be, and where you have to score. And that is in the box, and especially in the double six-yard box. There, you have to arrive as a striker, or when we attack with 11, with one of them, or best, with more than them."

Specifically on Rasmus Hojlund, he came off before the hour today. Do you get to a point where you feel like you need to protect him a bit? Because he looked like a player lacking confidence, even when he got the ball in a good position from Fernandes, he couldn't do anything with it. Are you worried about him psychologically?
"No. I think he's a very strong character and he can deal with the stress. I took him off. He was ill during the week and so he had a little lack of power. So, yeah, in that sense, I protected him. We have to play two more games this week. But we can't feel sorry for ourselves. No one. And we have to take the responsibility. If you are playing for Manchester United you have to do it together, but everyone has to be accountable and take responsibility."

Highlights: West Ham v United Video

Highlights: West Ham v United

Highlights | Watch the key action from the Reds' pre-Christmas contest with West Ham, at the London Stadium...

At the final whistle, all the players, including those on the bench, went over to applaud the travelling fans that were still there, except for Marcus Rashford, who went straight down the tunnel. Does that disappoint you?
"I haven't seen it."

But is that disappointing when it comes two days before Christmas?
"I'm not sure if that happened."

Manchester United used to be the byword for fight-backs, 'Fergie time', and so forth. When this team go behind they seem to give up. How do you turn that around?
"First of all, it's the meaning of the first goal, and when you're controlling the game and you have to take the goal. But, of course, when you are not scoring the first goal, you have to show character and personality as a team, and you have to fight back."