Every word from Erik’s press conference: Part one

Friday 08 December 2023 14:22

Erik ten Hag has been speaking to journalists at Carrington, ahead of Manchester United’s Old Trafford meeting with Bournemouth on Saturday.

The boss sat in front of reporters on Friday afternoon, a little over an hour after it was announced he is the Premier League’s Manager of the Month for November.

Erik was congratulated on the award – and for those presented to his players Alejandro Garnacho and Harry Maguire – at the start of his media briefing, which you can watch or read in full below.

Part one: Press conference v Bournemouth Video

Part one: Press conference v Bournemouth

Press conference part one | Are you ready for Saturday's game? You will be after watching Ten Hag's latest update...

Congratulations Erik on winning Manager of the Month and Harry on Player of the Month, and Goal of the Month [for Garnacho] as well. It's quite interesting because when you look at Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay and the conversations around them at the start of the season, they have turned their United careers around, haven't they? Is that fair?
"I think we have a squad and in that squad, there is internal competition, and if you want to have a successful season, you need more than 11 players. In every season, it will turn, what is the best team. They are here, they are great players and they played themselves in[to] the team. So, that is what you expect from every player, this has to be the dedication from every player, to aim for this."

A question about the 'crisis' at Manchester United. I know you've played it down, but you're only three points behind Manchester City so does the narrative need to change?
"We know where we are going and we had our setbacks, especially at the start of the season, a lot of things went against us - with injuries, with decisions. Smetimes as a team you find yourself in such a place and you have to deal with it. Then you have seen the character of the team. But we fought back, and I think we are now in a better place. We are in better form, you see the performances are increasing, we are improving as a team and as individuals. You see you get a stronger belief, but we also know we have to be very sharp in every game because we also know that this league is very competitive. You see it in the recent results, this week as well. Everyone kills everyone, so you need to be ready for every game."
Erik, Marcus Rashford was obviously taken out of the side on Wednesday night. Have you seen a reaction from him to that?
"Rashford is an incredibly good player. You can't do it with 11 players. Also, he can't play every game. He is not, in this moment, in the form he was last year but I am sure he will get there."

The game against Chelsea in terms of chances created and so on was probably one of the best of the season. How difficult will it be for Marcus to get back into the side, given the way you played?
"What I said about Scott McTominay, what I said about Harry Maguire, it's up to them. So, finally the team will always line themselves up. The best players who form the best team, who constructs the best team, they will play."

You've never lost to Bournemouth in the Premier League in recent times. How important is it that you continue the confidence you have found at home into this game, this time around?
"So, I think they also have very good form, Bournemouth. We have seen them. They are a very good side, it is very well constructed, that team, [they have] capable players. You have to play your best and as I said for the previous question, everyone is killing everyone, so you have to be 100 per cent ready as a team for that game, so that is our job to do, to get there."

Ten Hag's team news for Cherries visit


The boss rules a defender out of Saturday's game, but another recent absentee could return.

Erik, how difficult is it this weekend with your selection? I know the next game is always the most important, but you have a very, very important game on Tuesday as well, so how difficult is the selection dilemma this weekend?
"As a manager, with my coaches, with the rest of the staff, of course you always have considerations. We take everything into account. But, as you say, the next game is always the most important and especially in the Premier League when everyone is killing everyone. You need a very strong team."

How delighted have you been with Scott and Harry because, as already mentioned, we wondered what was happening with them at the start of the season. Scott is already scoring lots of goals... how big a surprise is that for you?
"Actually, from the first moment, I saw he has a very good smell for making [it into] the box. And he is a very good finisher. So, that's not a surprise. When we bring him in the way we want to play, in the position, when we get the balls there, yeah, he will finish."

Erik: Harry and Scott have set the standard


The recent performances of Maguire and McTominay are what Ten Hag expects from every player.

Can I ask you about Luke [Shaw] and what he brings to the team technically and tactically and with his presence in the dressing room?
"Yeah, to start with, I think a lot. He is a player others can build on. He gives belief and confidence to other players. The team-mates around him, they feel comfortable. He will deal with difficult situations, and he will set up and take initiative to create. It strengthens absolutely the team. So, it's first in his presence, his personality, but also, he has the skill set with his physicality, he's so strong, [he’s] also technical, very good. He is a high-profile player, so we are very happy he's back in."