Every word from Erik's press conference: Part one

Tuesday 04 April 2023 12:52

The first part of Erik ten Hag's pre-match press conference ahead of Manchester United v Brentford covered a range of topics in the space of a few minutes.

While our midweek opponents did not come up during the course of the briefing, their London neighbours Chelsea did, in the context of the recent managerial departure at Stamford Bridge.

Closer to home, there were questions on Luke Shaw's new contract – announced earlier today on ManUtd.com and the United App – as well as the availability of Christian Eriksen and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and the process for picking between the latter and his right-back rival, Diogo Dalot.

Below, you can watch the first part of Erik's press conference in full, or scroll down to read every word...
Part one: Erik's pre-Brentford press conference Video

Part one: Erik's pre-Brentford press conference

Press conference part one | Ten Hag discusses Shaw, Eriksen’s fitness and Wan-Bissaka v Dalot…

Luke Shaw signed a new contract. How good is it that he's going to be here for the peak years of his career?
"I think it's a good message. An England international, he's doing really well this season, I'm really happy with him. I think he is a modern left full-back but can also play in other positions like left centre-back, so he matches absolutely the standards we want to have. So it's a very good message."

As for tomorrow, do you have any injury news and how close is Christian Eriksen to being back in the squad?
"Not for tomorrow but he is returning on the pitch; he is returning to team training today so we have to see how quick he can now make the progress."

How much have you missed Christian Eriksen, and Casemiro's absence as well? How much have you felt that as a team?
"Ah, these are two quality players and you know the midfield department... games will be decided always in the midfield. So when you miss two quality players it is clear, but you have a squad and when you don't have them, you still have to win."
How have you, yourself, reflected and how have the team reflected on the Newcastle defeat?
"We had a very bad performance because the opponent wanted it more than we [did]. They were sharper and you could see that in the challenges. We won only 16 from 61 challenges in offence and in defence, the opponent beats us 48 from 78 challenges. Ah, then you can't win a game."

Erik, you've not won in the Premier League since lifting the EFL Cup and you talk about those stats there. How much of a concern are the performances by the players right now?
"So, we played 60 minutes against Southampton with 10 men. We beat Fulham [in the FA Cup], it's a Premier League opponent. We beat Newcastle in the Carabao Cup, it's a Premier League opponent, so there is no concern. We know we can beat Premier League teams."

It's the first time we've spoken to you since Graham Potter lost his job as well. He was appointed as a project manager at Chelsea. But do you have to accept now in management that you will not get that time if results are not good enough?
"You never get the time. You know that you have to get results, so top football is about the results. That's the game and you have to accept it. In the meantime, you have to work on your process, but it has to be in balance."

How to follow United v Brentford


The Reds return to Old Trafford on Wednesday, with Thomas Frank's side the visitors.

Hi Erik. Are we likely to see Aaron Wan-Bissaka involved tomorrow?
"He's also returning today in training."

It's been something you've had to balance this season, between Diogo and Aaron. How difficult has it been to pick between those two players and what qualities do they have that help you make that decision?
"I think it's really close, the competition between them. So maybe Aaron gives you a little bit more defending, Diogo gives you maybe a little bit more offence. But I have to say I think they both have made progress in both areas so it's really close. Then you look at the opponent, you look at the load on the players and you have to manage that when you have two almost-equal players. The form they are in is also an issue and then, of course, how is the team? How are they doing in the moment? So then you make your decisions."