Every word from Erik’s pre-Crystal Palace press conference
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag fielded questions from the media at midday today, ahead of the Reds’ Premier League game against Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds will be looking to make a winning return to the competition, 13 days on from our last league outing, the narrow defeat at Arsenal.
Since then, Ten Hag's men have defeated Nottingham Forest over two legs to progress to the Carabao Cup final and advanced to the Emirates FA Cup fifth round with a home victory over Reading.
On the eve of the Palace game, the boss held his usual pre-match press conference, at Carrington and you can now see every word from the first part of it below...
Part one: Erik's pre-Palace press conference
Press conference part one | Erik discusses Palace, Rashford's award, Varane's international retirement and more...
Erik, there were a couple of statements released yesterday about Mason Greenwood. Have you got anything to say on that situation?
"No, nothing. I can't add anything. I refer to the statement of the club."
Have you ever spoken to Mason or met Mason and will you be part of the process that Manchester United outlined yesterday?
"As I said, at this moment, I cannot give comments about the process."
Have you ever spoken to Mason?
"I can't say anything about it, I refer to the statement of the club. In this moment, I can't add anything."
"We have always to focus on the game no matter what, that is our job. That's why we are here. We have a lot to do against them, two weeks ago we had a bad performance there [at Selhurst Park], I wasn't happy with the performance from us. It was 90 per cent focus and energy and we dropped two points. We have to avoid it tomorrow. We need tomorrow to play a better game, have better focus in the game and especially a better conduct in our way of play because we have to beat them, that's quite clear."
Marcel Sabitzer has got his work permit, he was in training yesterday. Will he be involved in the matchday squad?
How is he looking fitness-wise and tactically with your demands in training?
"Very good. Of course, he did only one session, but you can see he's a very fit player. I didn't have a different expectation. He's coming from Bayern Munich, German [clubs] they are always [about] fitness, [it's] always good. So, he is [fit]. So, I think he is ready to play."
"Yeah, for United I think it's good news, but I think Rapha, he has achieved everything. In international football, club-wise, but also with his nation. I think it is incredible what he has achieved. Big respect, and I'm happy he now puts all of his energy and his experience into our team."
Erik, you've won the Premier League Manager of the Month [in September], Marcus Rashford is the Premier League Player of the Month [for January]. What does that say about the progress you're making here?
"That's always nice to win individual awards but it's not about that. We have to win as a team, we have to work on that and when the team is winning, individuals will get their rewards. That is always the way in football, not the other way around."
On Sabitzer, would you have any reservation of putting him straight into the first XI? Have you seen enough already from him that he could start the match, not just be involved?
"I think he's a really smart player, I think we gave him some guidance, but I think he knows what to do, he knows the job, so he could do."
Rashford claims Premier League awardArticle
Marcus has been recognised for his stellar showings across the month of January.
Crystal Palace... how much of a benefit or problem is it that you two faced each other so recently? Is it good because it's fresh in the players' minds or does it make it more difficult because you've only faced off a few weeks ago?
"It's always difficult to say before, but of course, we know a lot from them, they know a lot about us. But, like I said, we were really unhappy about our game at Crystal Palace, we have to do much better, so I demand a much better performance. When we perform better than in London, then we have a good chance to win. But first, we have to come to the level."
Did you speak to Rapha Varane before he made that decision?
"He gave me the information that he was intending to do this, yes."
Is that something you discussed with him at all, or had he already made his mind up?
"No, I didn't discuss it, Rapha is experienced, he makes his own decisions of course about that. I can only express my deep respect for his career until now. But still, he has a lot to come because he is ambitious, he wants to win with Manchester United."