Every word from Erik's press conference: Part two
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag shared his thoughts on the possibility of playing Lisandro Martinez in midfield, in advance of our Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Nottingham Forest tomorrow evening.
Having suffered injury setbacks to both Donny van de Beek and now Christian Eriksen following the turn of the year, United are looking lighter regarding our midfield options at present.
With our no.14 ruled out until late April or early May, Ten Hag may look at other options in the middle of park going forward, including Martinez who occasionally played there for him at Ajax.
Erik was also questioned about late deals and the challenge that caused Eriksen's injury, from Reading's Andy Carroll.
With just under 24 hours until our next outing at Old Trafford, you can now read every word from the second part of Erik's pre-match press conference - conducted on Tuesday afternoon, before the closure of the transfer window - below...
“It's of course a concern. These are things you have to deal with as you can do nothing for it. You can set the squad and in January of course we also had Donny [van de Beek] who has dropped out for the rest of the season. Christian Eriksen is now out for the coming part of the season and then also Scott McTominay is not available I think also for the coming week, two weeks, maybe even longer. That means that we have a challenge there and the squad has a challenge. We also have quality players there. This is obvious, but the depth is not that good anymore. We as a team we have to deal with that.”
Would you encourage the board to push for a late deal at all before the deadline?
“I think I said from day one, when there are opportunities, we will do them. That is also [true] for every hour we have still, if there are opportunities, we have to act. Also, it is so difficult, everyone around football [knows] that the last day is not likely to bring the right player in. You can probably have a player, but it has to be the right player who can have an impact. Otherwise it is better to leave it.”
“I am disappointed about that. I think football has to set limits and restrictions so that you protect the players. I think what football wants is the best players to be available on the pitch and this is a tackle, and the two tackles after it, they don't belong on the football pitch, because it's high risk to injure your colleague, it is worse. I wondered about that for instance at Crystal Palace where there was an elbow on [Lisandro] Martinez and I don't even know if there was a whistle for a free-kick. But no one is interfering. I'm wondering about such things because it's a risk of injury for the player.”
In terms of Nottingham Forest, as you are already three goals ahead, you have played strong teams in the cup, do you play such a strong team even though you have such a great advantage?
“It's good that you make that question. We are talking about Forest here but I don't hear one question about it! A good question. We are here playing a semi-final and we have a perfect chance to go to Wembley, to bring a trophy in. Therefore, we have to focus and therefore we have to gather the energy and gather the good game plan for tomorrow and I think it is all about that. You have to do it with the players who are available and that is a strong team that will come on tomorrow and I think we are in momentum, we are in good process and we have to keep that going from the momentum and we want to develop this team further on. Tomorrow we want to take the next step and we are approaching a real good team. The games before with Forest, they are in a really good run and we have to be aware of that. Forest have a good team, they have a real good depth in that squad and from that they can bring a good team and they can do things different. We have to be prepared for that and it is all about that.”
“I have made my view about this quite clear. I think it was quite clear what my thoughts were.”
Lisandro Martinez has obviously played most of the season at the back but could he now play in midfield if you were short on options. Is that something he is capable of doing? '
“He did it before [for Ajax]. This is also one thing that me as a manager, you have to be creative in certain situations when in other departments you have players who can't be starting XI players, because I can only play one player in that position, maybe we can move the departments and be creative to form the team.”
I know you have said you have to work within financial frameworks, but last week you said if it was up to you, you would bring someone in. How frustrating is it for you because that's probably not going to happen. Do you see that as a missed opportunity because you cannot strengthen beyond today?
“As a manager, you always try to find and to make your team better. I wouldn't be a good manager if I didn't make the requests and put it in. If there are opportunities it is my job in the club to tell the club there are opportunities to strengthen our squad and our team, but it is about them and so about financial frameworks: what is acceptable and what is reasonable and what is not. What do we need to fufil our ambitions and always we have to also follow that. Does it match with our policy and our strategy and the phase that we are in?”