Every word from part two of Erik's pre-City press conference

Friday 13 January 2023 22:30

You can now see the second part of Erik ten Hag’s pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game against Manchester City.

The boss fielded questions from journalists at Carrington, in the build-up to the cross-city showdown at Old Trafford (12:30 GMT kick-off).

Earlier, the first part of that media briefing was released and now you can see more of what Erik said on Friday afternoon, as the countdown to the 189th Manchester derby continues. 

In this section, Ten Hag was asked about Donny van de Beek’s injury, his relationship with Pep Guardiola, Erling Haaland, our January transfer business and more, as you can see below…

Part two: Erik's pre-City press conference Video

Part two: Erik's pre-City press conference

Press conference part two | Before the derby, Ten Hag is asked about van de Beek's injury, plus Guardiola and Haaland...

Erik, you said after the 6-3 [loss to Manchester City in October] that the team wasn’t brave enough. Is that the message tomorrow to your players? Be brave, be bold…
“Yes, [that’s the message] but important is how [we are brave]. What means brave? Always, it’s a way of play. In possession, you give each other options, scanning in the right moment the situations, taking the right decisions, go forward where it’s possible, defending, be [on the] front foot. That is brave. As a team, act with togetherness, the same ideas in every situation. That means braveness.”

In your time with Pep, what did you learn from him?
“There’s too much to tell [laughs]. It’s a lot. It’s too short to bring in 30 seconds, to tell that.”

The best bit?
“Be proactive. Football is about results. Top football is about results. But you want to do it in a certain way, a way of proactive adventure and also entertain. Top football is about winning but also entertaining the fans. You play football for the fans, top football.”
Erik, you say you feel you have made huge progress, do you still feel this is some way behind Manchester City? Or do you now feel able to challenge them?
“I don’t want to compare, it’s about us.”

You play them tomorrow…
“Of course. If you want to win trophies, you have to be able to compete with the best and City are the best. We are looking forward to challenging them.”

Do you think there is still a big gap between them and you?
“We will see tomorrow.”

I don’t know if you saw, but in the week Pep Guardiola said about using some “ridiculous” tactics in the game tomorrow. Sir Alex Ferguson before big games used to call them mind games, do you care about that kind of stuff?
“I don’t care about that, what he is thinking. You know, he did [tactical surprises] more often and we are prepared for that, if he does different things. We have our rules, our principles from football.”

Ten Hag gives Van de Beek injury update


The United boss explains why he is being positive about Donny's diagnosis.

Is there an update on Donny van de Beek?
“Yes, it’s his knee, on the long term, it’s looking really good. He will be back, I think, at the start of pre-season.”

So, he’s out for the rest of the season?
“For the rest of the season he is out.”

Donny posts thanks after successful surgery


Our midfielder has resolved to come back stronger, after he was ruled out for the season with a knee injury.

Ahead of tomorrow, Haaland is an exceptional striker but with [Lisandro] Martinez, you’ve got quite a combative defender there. When he came up against Mo Salah earlier in the season, he seemed to unnerve him. Given how Everton tried to unsettle Haaland the other week, would you encourage those kinds of tactics?
“It’s clear, he’s [Haaland] a really good player. But also, we have really good players. I’m convinced our players are good enough to compete with all the players from Man City.”

Heartbreaking news for Donny, what’s been your message to him to lift his spirits after such a bad injury?
“Thoughts are really with him. It’s terrible when you are in the middle of a season and you get a bad tackle, a bad injury. It’s always really a disappointment in the group and your thoughts, your feelings are with the player, and you express that. Our group did that really well. We are not happy but in the long term it’s good and Donny’s also happy with that. But of course, in the same moment, he’s still got mixed feelings and is disappointed that he’s out of this season. I think the players are feeling we’re building something good, and you want to be a part of it. That is what I feel in this club in this moment from our players in the dressing room. Everyone wants to be part of it. By a bad injury, he’s now out, there are two sides of it. The good news is that in the long term he will be back and he will be stable.”

United complete loan move for Weghorst


The Netherlands striker has joined until the end of the 2022/23 season.

There aren’t many teams still competing on four trophy fronts like you guys are, City are for example, do you worry about the size of the squad given what you’ve said about Donny, Anthony Martial, about injury problems? Do you worry that you don’t have a big enough squad to compete on four fronts and do you think you might do more business? Do you want to do something else in January?
“If we close this with Wout [Weghorst], we are close I think to finalise this, then we have an extra player, so I’m really happy. I think, also, the player in the balance of the squad is what we need. So, I’m happy with that. If there are more opportunities, we will be ready for that. We will look for that but once again it has to be the right player and from the numbers here, I think with the signing from Wout and the development from some players… [we will have enough]. I think Alejandro Garnacho is the best example but also, we have seen in the week Kobbie Mainoo, we have seen Facundo Pellistri. I think we have some good, talented young players in the back also, that can fight for the minutes, they have to deserve it in the training and when they are ready to compete and [when] they deserve [to play] from the training, I’m not hesitating to play them. But they have to show it, that they can contribute to this team and that they can contribute to the higher targets we have.”