Every word from the second part of Erik's pre-Wolves press conference
Manchester United will face Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux on Saturday 31 December, with Erik ten Hag's side eager to finish the year with three points.
The Reds have had a positive return to competitive action, defeating Burnley 2-0 in the Carabao Cup on 21 December before following it up with a win over Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on 27 December.
Wolves also gained three points in their first league match since the 2022 World Cup, recording a 2-1 triumph over Everton on Boxing Day, as new manager Julen Lopetegui's impact is seen.
Prior to our trip to Wolverhampton, Erik spoke to the media, with part one of his briefing being released at 13:30 GMT on Friday. As well as this section, Ten Hag fielded a further series of questions, on topics such as Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez and Jadon Sancho.
Read on to find out what Erik said to the media in the second part of his pre-Wolves press conference...
Part two: Erik's pre-Wolves press conference
Press conference | In part two, Erik ten Hag is asked about Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez and Jadon Sancho...
Casemiro was obviously excellent [against Nottingham Forest]. How important is he going to be in achieving the goals you want this season? And are you still surprised, when you see him playing that well, that Real Madrid were willing to sell him to Manchester United?
“Yeah, I am happy they did it [sold him to United]. But you also see him involved at the World Cup, he is a magnificent player. My analysis was before the start of the season we needed a [number] six, and he is fulfilling that six position. In the pre-season I remember we had a lot of discussions in this room, but you need the right player, and definitely we have the right player. I am really happy for Manchester United and for this team to have him. Because he is raising the limits from Manchester United.”
Erik, you mentioned finance yourself a couple of times, it has to be the right financial deal for you to bring in a striker. How realistic is it to bring in a player that is good enough for Manchester United, a striker in January with the money you’ve got?
“It is always difficult, strikers are expensive and especially in the winter. But you have to set the limits high with what we are looking for, so maybe we have to be creative. But we do everything we have in our power to get that done, to get the right players in who fit in the balance of the front lines.”
Is it about a 50/50 chance that you can do this? Is that how you rate it? Five out of 10? 50/50?
“No. I don’t think you can judge that and rate it because it is about timing, it is about availability, it is about so many circumstances that play a role in it. And let’s be fair, the window has not even started. So, it is a long period.”
Will Lisandro Martinez be back for the Wolves game?
“Well, it is good, he [has] arrived in Manchester.”
Is he sober?
“I think so. I am sure he is.”
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What kind of impact will it have on him that he is now a world champion? How much of a boost do you think that will bring to him?
“I think it is already a boost. I think already he is a player who is convinced in himself. He has high belief, but I think also this experience will strengthen him even more and he has to bring that in the squad. I think Argentina, they played to win, in contradiction to many other nations, who play not to lose. I think also that mentality has shown many times in Manchester United. [He is] proactive and that’s what I like and when it is difficult to stand [tall]. And when he can show that more it will help us more.”
After the start he had to the season, did you have any doubts about whether he would get to the level you wanted here in England?
“No, I never had that doubt. That’s why I brought him in, because I know he has high potential and if he works good then there is a huge progress, there is huge space for improvement. And now he is returning from the World Cup, there is another challenge to go. Because that is experience is so emotional and now you have to manage that as a player and because opponents will be even more tougher against him and that is a good challenge. And if you survive the challenge, you are going to be a better player. And that is the type of player that Lisandro Martinez is. He likes performances and he likes challenges."
Look who's back at Carrington!Article
Lisandro Martinez has returned to United training, 10 days after Argentina's World Cup final win.
Erik, I know we have asked you a lot on Jadon Sancho, but have you got a date for him to come back in yet? Because he’s been away training in the Netherlands for a long time, he has not played in two months, there has to be a time he has to come back into squad training...
“Yes of course there is coming a time. The time is not now, but his making good progress, and we will see when he is ready to return into the squad.”
Is he still in the Netherlands or is he back in Manchester?
“Back in Manchester.”
He’s training at Carrington on his own?
“He will start individual training, yeah.”