Every word from Erik's press conference

Friday 01 December 2023 13:30

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag addressed sections of the media in advance of our Premier League match against Newcastle United on Saturday.

The Reds are bidding to record a fifth successive Premier League away win, and keen to avenge our Carabao Cup exit against the Magpies last month.

Erik spoke on a range of different topics including Kobbie Mainoo, Andre Onana and Mason Mount, with the boss outlining how he expects every member of his squad to be ready when called upon, as we approach our third game on the road in six days.

Below, you can both read, and watch, everything the boss had to say to journalists, when quizzed earlier on Friday at Carrington...
Part one: Press conference v Newcastle Video

Part one: Press conference v Newcastle

Press conference | Ten Hag discusses Kobbie Mainoo, Andre Onana, Newcastle's threat and more...

Hi Erik, can I ask you about Kobbie Mainoo? He came on on Wednesday, what things, as a manager, have you got to take into consideration before deciding whether to put in an 18-year-old?
''If he is ready or not. And he showed, on Sunday, he was ready. Then we have to manage three games in six days to get the best results in all of those games. We have more than 11 players and we have good options there, like Sofyan [Amrabat], who also showed [that] as he played a very good game. We have many options but we have to manage the load of the players. It is also about freshness as well.''

What, in particular, do you like about him as a player? He is obviously playing very well?
''His scanning, it always looks like he has time. Because of his scanning, he is running free and the scanning to see the options and then make the right decisions. He can delay, he can speed up and he makes the right decisions.''
Hi Erik, I know you have talked a lot about Andre Onana since the game on Wednesday. His form has been analysed but are we being too harsh on Andre Onana?
''If you analyse it well, then you will see he is the second-best goalkeeper in the Premier League, based on stats. His expected defence on goal is the second best in the Premier League. So yeah, he is doing well, but also he knows that, in the Champions League, he has had made some mistakes. But, overall, in the first five months, he is doing particularly well.''

Is it difficult to gauge how well Manchester United are playing at the moment? If you look at the Premier League form, it is fantastic, then you have the Champions League frustrations. Is it frustrating for you because you know how good this team can be?
''You said it: very good, how good we played on Wednesday. We played very good. In Copenhagen, we played very good and, even in Bayern Munich, we played very good. We have to do some things better, eliminating individual errors. Also things in the transition, but we can sort this out. I would be more concerned if we didn't play that well.''

Erik you know Onana as well as anybody. How is his confidence after these high-profile mistakes he has made?
''You know also because you have seen how he is reacting after a bad performance, like he did after Munich. Then after, against Burnley, he was outstanding. He is a strong character, a personality and he will deal with it.''

Ten Hag: What Mainoo brings to our midfield


Erik gave a detailed answer when asked about Kobbie's form, during his pre-match press conference.

We have had the update this morning about Tyrell Malacia who will be back in the new year. Are you expecting any of the other injured players to return before the Munich game?
''I don't think about the [Bayern] Munich game. First, we go back into the Premier League. There are players on the way back but I can't say now [about the] prognosis on how long it will take.''

So there is no time frame on Mason Mount?
''Mason Mount is, today, returning on the pitch, but I don't know how long it will take until he returns [to play]. I can't say in this moment.''

Erik, in the last few games you have played against Newcastle, you have said they are very physical. Do you expect a similar game to that when you play against them at St. James' Park?
''I really respect them as it is a difficult team to play against. It is a good challenge and I like to play against them because, in the challenge, we have to rise to the occasion. We have to be at our best against them because as I say, the way they play, I think is very good and very organised.''