Erik's press conference part one: every word

Tuesday 05 December 2023 13:30

Erik ten Hag's press conference to preview Manchester United's next assignment - a midweek home game against Chelsea in the Premier League - was much anticipated on social media in the hours preceding it.

The form of the team and unity of the squad, following Saturday night's disappointing away defeat to Newcastle United, were big talking points for the journalists who were still invited to attend the media briefing. So much so that our upcoming encounter at Old Trafford was not even mentioned in the first part, during which Ten Hag was defiant in the face of recent criticism and insistent that his side remain on track.

The manager cited the quality of our recent 3-0 away win over Everton, and particularly the flowing football that led to Alejandro Garnacho's spectacular opener, as evidence that everyone within the Reds' ranks are pulling together in the right direction.

You can watch the first part of Erik's press conference below and scroll down to read a full transcript...
Part one: Press conference v Chelsea Video

Part one: Press conference v Chelsea

Press conference part one | Watch every single second of a much-anticipated media briefing at Carrington...

Hi Erik. It was obviously a challenging game at Newcastle and a lot of things have been brought up since them. What is your reaction?
"We had a week with two good performances and one bad performance so from there, we carry on. I think the team is in a good direction. I think we played very good football and scored very good goals against Galatasaray and against Everton. Against Newcastle, we didn't play great. We knew that and we were not happy with that performance, although we stayed in the game until the final moment. With a little bit of luck, we had two opportunities at the end, we could have even stolen a point. If we had a little bit more determination in that moment, we could have got something from it. I think we are in a good direction. Of course, we dropped [in the Premier League table] but we are not too far away."

Do you believe that you have the buy-in required from the players to make this club and this job successful?
"Yes. I am sure. But you can see, for instance, the comeback against Brentford. The Burnley game, the Fulham game. Every time the team was there and showed great character and great determination. Resilience. So we are together and you can see [that]. You can't play such great football as we did lately if there is no unity."

Is that your answer? [I ask] because there are a number of media outlets not here today, because the club wasn't given a right of reply against claims that some of the players were unhappy with you and the training. How do you address that? Because people don't just make things up...
"They should come to us first and not go around [behind] our back, printing articles that's not the right thing. I think we have another relationship and they should give that to us beforehand and we have a normal and professional discussion and debate about it."

Are you at all concerned at what is being reported and what people are being told, that there is truth behind that? Surely there is an issue with Jadon Sancho, that we are all aware of and that we have spoken about, but are there issues with other players? Behind the scenes, are there issues?
"No. Of course there are always, in every team, players who are playing less who are not happy, but [that is] not different to normal. You need that and they have to wait for their chance and they can come [into the team]. But no, there are no issues."
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Goal of the Month winner: November 2023

Alejandro Garnacho's stunning overhead kick was voted our Goal of the Month for November 2023...

It's quite personal the things that have been suggested - your tactics, your discipline. How do you respond to that? As far as you're concerned, is it that you won't change, or will you listen to players to maybe change certain areas?
"I listen always to my players and I always give them opportunities to tell [me]. And if the players have a different opinion, of course, I will listen. But they haven't told me - maybe one or two - but it's about, in general, the majority want to play like this. Proactive, dynamic, brave. That is what they want. You can see the players are behind it because of the performances against Everton and Galatasaray, and we are improving. You see that [Garnacho] goal - do you think we can make a goal like we did against Everton if we didn't embrace it? What do you think?"

Does what happened today give a representation of the disorder at the club? Is that a fair representation of the club?
"Not in the dressing room. I don't know, of course there are rumours about the strategic review, but it's not that we get distracted from it. We are on the journey, on the road. We know we are in transition but we are in the right direction and you see it. How we construct the team, how we develop the team, how the team is progressing and the young players coming in and you see the potential and how they can contribute to a very successful Manchester United for the future."

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You speak about the Galatasaray game and not so much the game against Newcastle. I think the lack of effort there has been criticised. Where did that come from? I think we could see certain players were not helping their team-mates. Surely that's not something you are saying to your players?
"So we are not robots. If you play three games in six days, tough games, by the end, fatigue can be an issue. It can never be an excuse but it is there. Against Galatasaray, against Everton, we played very good. Against Newcastle, we were not happy with our performance and we are the first to say. The players are the first, and so self critical that they admit this. We know and we have to do better than this."

Marcus Rashford has received a lot of negative attention after the Newcastle game. How is he feeling?
"Everyone is disappointed when you have the result at Galatasaray and then the performance and result in Newcastle, but if you go to Newcastle we are not the only team who is losing there. I think in their home record, they win every game apart from Liverpool, when they were leading and the opponent was down to 10 and they got a turnaround. Apart from that, everyone is losing there but we wanted to win there. We gave everything that was in our power but definitely our performance wasn't good enough."