Every word: Part two of Erik’s pre-Leeds press conference

Tuesday 07 February 2023 22:30

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has addressed sections of the media, ahead of our Premier League clash with Leeds United at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening (20:00 GMT).

The Reds are bidding to make it 14 home games undefeated in M16 tomorrow evening, as we prepare to host the Whites in the first of two back-to-back encounters.

Providing updates on the latest injury setbacks sustained by Anthony Martial and Antony, Erik also spoke positively about Jadon Sancho's recent return to action, whilst amplifying how impressed he has been with Wout Weghorst's form of late, too.

With kick-off against Leeds now just under 24 hours away, below you can read every word from the second part of Ten Hag press conference from earlier today...

Part two: Ten Hag's Leeds press conference Video

Part two: Ten Hag's Leeds press conference

Press conference part two | Erik discusses recent setbacks for Martial and Antony, Weghorst's form and more...

Erik does there become a point where you cant rely on Martial any more? This is a constant thing where you have him in the team and then he's out. What's his problem?
''He is not always available. Also I see the other side of when he is available and he is was never 100 per cent this season. But he has a big impact every time he is available and even when he is it at 80, 85, 90 per cent. So, we do everything and Anthony Martial is doing everything. Anthony Martial I think is the player who spends the most hours at Carrington this season, to return, to recover, to get back. It is really such a pity for him and us. He is disappointed and he is not always available like we want him to be. That will improve our game because routines cannot continue when you are not always available.''

Is there any injury that keeps occurring?
''No. Every time it is in a different area.''

What is it at the minute?
''At the moment it is his hip.''
Erik there are a number of players at the moment who are in discussions with new contracts. Are you any closer to agreeing deals with David De Gea, Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Alejandro Garnacho on long-term deals?
''When we have news we will straight [away] inform you.''

With this midfield situation where you have had this blow with Eriksen who is out of the team for a few months, Casemiro is now out of the team for three games. Sabitzer has come in on loan but does that increase the need for a new midfielder to come in permanently in the summer?

''I think our summer plans, we have an idea on the long-term [plans]. You will also look two-three windows ahead and so we have that long-term plan. But also, you have to revisit that plan every time because of developments. For instance, who could have expected this development with [Alejandro] Garnacho and so this changes your approach to the window.''

On the other injury to Antony, Antony Dos Santos. How long is he out for?
''I don't know. I don't think it is a long time but we have to see how it develops in the coming days.''

Is it a muscle injury?
''It is in his leg, but I can't specify as we don't understand that.''
Jadon Sancho has obviously come back in the last couple of matches. How do you think he has adapted to life back here at Carrington?
''He is good. We saw last week that he came in and he did really well. It was also a pity and was one of the consequences of the sending off of Casemiro that I couldn't bring him in. We have to get the draw and make other subs because I did plan to bring him on. That process was also a setback for us. If you see overall we are very happy with that win against Crystal Palace after the sending off but once again it shows and expresses the good spirit we have in the team. It gives also the team more encouragement and motivation and more confidence. It was bad too in a lot of aspects.''

You spoke before about preferring that clubs have stability with managers. When you look at the rebuild and the role you have to do within it, can you see yourself here for 10-15 years. Do you think that is possible at football clubs these days?
''I don't think about it. I always think about the long term, in every club where I was, I have been thinking about long-term work to build a culture, to build a way of playing, to develop the players and the team obviously. I think in the long term obviously in contracts and in windows, because I think that is the [right] way. Thinking about the long term and acting in the long way and so I stay also with many clubs a long time compared to nowadays. I am not here for one year, I am longer, I see it is a long-term project. To build here and how long it is you can't see, I cant tell.''

Don't miss Ten Hag's team news update


In his press conference, the manager confirmed two forwards will miss the match against Leeds, plus Casemiro.

A couple of weeks ago Erik you said you are a better side with Anthony Martial in it. Obviously Wout Weghorst has now come in and is it now frustrating that you have to play a slightly different way with Weghorst in the team as they are different players aren't they? Is that frustrating that you feel the team is best suited with Martial?
''No. I think in many situations I can see us being a good team with Wout [Weghorst]. Another scenario we would be better with [Anthony] Martial and I think Martial has some capabilities, skills-wise, he can be very variable. But Wout in that case is doing a very good job for us in pressing. His movement and his offensive moments are very good, he is the one who makes our players around him play better. To create spaces and also he adds contributions within the box. As a team we have to be better to co-ordinate that better because we have to anticipate on his movements, his movements are good. Quite a lot of times he comes close like the header when he hit the post against Forest. There was a penalty against Forest which he didn't get and he has many good actions. Already he had a lot of contribution to our performance and to our results in this moment.''

The fact is he only has one goal since he came here, but do you see it differently with his all-round contribution to show that it was worth bringing him in?
''Especially for strikers, most of the time it takes time. Rashy [Marcus Rashford] at the start of the season, we discuss this often, and and every time I did say it will come, I have told you. It will come and we will work on the routines, the team has to act better but I see his potential. The same I see with Wout, he will score but in the meantime he does the other stuff very good. It is not about scoring as an individual, it is about scoring for the team, as the team has to win. I think he is doing a very good job in this moment in several aspects of the football.''

Every word: Part one of Erik’s press conference


The boss was asked about the United-Leeds rivalry, our recent home form and more ahead of Wednesday’s game.

You said before that you wouldn't appeal against the red card on Saturday, but would you at least seek an explanation as to what's going on as? As you explained on Saturday that it wasn't just that game, it was the Palace game and Martinez and then Eriksen and Andy Carroll. Will you at least seek some explanation as to what happened?
''I think it wont help. I don't want to lose too much on such issues. I have to focus on the performance of my team.''