Every word from Erik’s press conference: Part one
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has conducted his pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at Old Trafford.
The Reds go into the tie with a three-goal lead after last week’s comprehensive first-leg win at The City Ground.
While there is a lot of anticipation ahead of tomorrow’s return fixture, the first part of Ten Hag’s press conference was understandably dominated by the news that Christian Eriksen will be out for a sustained period of time, after a statement was released shortly before the boss met with the media.
With it also being transfer deadline day, incomings and outgoings were also a hot topic in part one.
Scroll down to see the full transcript, including Erik’s comments on the aforementioned talking points and more…
Part one: Ten Hag's pre-Forest press conference
Press conference part one | Ten Hag's media briefing was filled with questions about Christian Eriksen's injury news...
Hi Erik, obviously we've just seen the statement about Christian Eriksen's injury, how is he mentally? How are you guys? It's a huge blow...
"Of course, he is disappointed about [it], we are disappointed about [it]. It happens in top football, you have to deal with it."
He's obviously been a very important player for you since you arrived – do you believe that you have enough depth in the squad to cover him? Or, as it's deadline day, could you move in the market to replace him?
"As you said, something coming out on deadline day is difficult and you can't make policy on such bad injuries but we have players in the midfield department, good players, we also have players who can fill the gap."
"Yeah, but I think you can never fill that because every player has their own characteristics and identity, so another player will always fill it in in a different way. So, it doesn't mean that you have to be less successful but it's quite clear that Christian Eriksen, for our squad, brings top quality and he has some specifics that are hard to replace. For instance, his impact in the final third, [with his] final ball."
People may look for instance that Fred scored on Saturday and also he plays very well with Casemiro for the Brazilian national team, he is a big personality, is he the type of player that can come in, take authority and raise his game to a level that supporters have not seen?
"You mentioned already in your first sentence, he's playing together with Casemiro in the Brazilian squad, I would say that's not the worst squad in the world. They have so many choices that they can make but they often prefer to play them together. So, that tells something about the quality Fred has and what he can contribute to the team. He has done it several times with his performance for instance against Tottenham Hotspur, for instance against Manchester City. When he's coming on [in the] last game [against Reading], he's scoring a goal straight away. He has a lot of qualities. I think they are a really good combination, Casemiro and Fred."
"Yeah, could be, but it depends on certain circumstances."
Would that only be on loan for the rest of the season?
"If so, it would likely be loans, yeah."
"I can't talk for other clubs, I'm talking for our club. We have a strategy and so we keep that strategy where we want to go. We want to restore Manchester United where they belong. We are in a good direction, also it has to match our financial frames, so we started in the season, and we keep consistent to that plan and strategy. I think we're developing as a club, we're developing as a squad in the way of play and I think you can see also the results in the process, we make the right progress. So, we have to keep that process going and keep improving every day."
Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been in lovely form recently, we've seen him playing higher up the pitch and more inverted. How impressed have you been with his performance and is that more of what you're expecting from the full-backs? Lastly, in terms of the last game, we saw Wout Weghorst come in, are you expecting to play more direct into him? We saw Facundo play an excellent cross into him, are we expecting to see that next phase of our football?
"Yes, definitely. Aaron, he was so often ill or injured at the start of the season, so he wasn't in the right spirit to contribute, a lot of drop-outs. Then in the restart, he was available, and he got used to our way of play, what we introduced, and I think he made a good development, a good progress. I think you see him growing game by game and I'm happy. What I think was quite well in the last games was the connection between Aaron and Antony was much better. Then you see much more difficulties for the opponent. Then we have to work on that we have even more bodies there, occupation around them so they have more opportunities to play. To Wout, I think Wout is integrating really well. He is just doing what I expected him to do, routine has to come, but the more you play together, the more it will come. So, I expect even better performances from him."