Every word: Erik's press conference, part one

Wednesday 24 May 2023 12:30

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag spoke to the media at Carrington earlier today, on the eve of our Premier League clash with Chelsea (Thursday 20:00 BST).

With the Reds now just needing one point to ensure a top-four finish and confirm our qualification for next season's UEFA Champions League, United have two home games to come before the end of the 2022/23 league season.

Frank Lampard's side will visit us before Fulham do the same on Sunday, six days before our campaign concludes with the all-Manchester fina in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday 3 June.

Journalists at Carrington asked Erik questions regarding our summer recruitment, Marcus Rashford's fitness and the transfer speculation linking the club with Neymar, amongst other hot topics.

Scroll down to watch and read everything the boss had to say in part one of his press conference... 

Press conference part one: United v Chelsea Video

Press conference part one: United v Chelsea

Press conference | See what Erik has to say about the Champions League, Chelsea, Rashford and transfer rumours...

Hi Erik, how important is it to get this point to get you over the line and into the Champions League?
''If you make that question, you already have your answer.''

But I meant in terms of the targets that you set yourself at the start of the season, what achievement would that be?
''It's clear and we want to win every game. That is what we have tried to do all season and tomorrow we want to do the same and win the game, play dominant football and get the job done.''
In terms of your squad, and you won’t tell us what you are doing for next season, but people made a connection between Anthony Martial and the fact that the striker position is not sorted at Manchester United. It doesn't seem to have worked this season and also his reaction to going off [against Bournemouth], the lack of goals, the lack of fitness and the feeling that he may be someone you may look to get rid of in the summer. Is that a fair assessment?
''No. If you are not available you cannot score and when he was available, we play better, and this team is winning games. He is also scoring goals, but he has to be available.''

Just a point needed for Champions League qualification. Are you about where you thought you would be at this stage, or are you ahead of schedule to where perhaps the owners set you when you became manager?
''First, we have to win the game tomorrow and get the job done. Then it is about the judgement from others. If it's a good performance or a bad performance or a poor performance, we are in a project and we want to go back and win trophies, [we have] won one trophy and we want to win more trophies and we want to compete with the best. We are still in a journey, but we think we are in the right direction. We can always be better because good is not good enough.''

Team news for United v Chelsea


The latest from Erik ten Hag's press conference as we prepare to host the Blues at Old Trafford.

Erik, can I just ask with Marcus Rashford being out recently with injury and then illness, is he now fully fit and ready to go?
''It looks like [it]. Yesterday he returned in training and he looks quite fit but we have to see today what the outcome is from the training, how did he recover. Then we will make our choices.''

In terms of the project, what is the significance for you in getting into the Champions League, in terms of then making the step forward next season and being able to attract players who wouldn't maybe want to come to a team that aren't in the Champions League. What is the significance of it to you?
''We want to compete with the best and then you have to be in the Champions League. It is simple.''

Can the Reds pick up six points?


The Debate panel analyse whether United can achieve maximum points in our final two league games.

Is it as simple as that though if you want to get the best players? Obviously you got Casemiro last summer, but if you want to be able to do that this summer, do you need to be a Champions League club to do that?
''We want to compete with the best and then you have to be in the Champions League. In the Premier League you have to qualify yourself to be in the top four and that is not easy because there are many [clubs] competing for it. Many think they should be in and so yeah, we are one of them.''

Erik, there are lots of strong reports from France about Manchester United and in particular, your interest in Neymar. Can you comment on that? What do you think of him as a player?
''When we have news, we will tell you.''