Every word from Erik's press conference: Part two

Friday 01 December 2023 22:30

The second part of Erik ten Hag's press conference, where he previewed the Reds' trip to Newcastle United, is now available to read and watch.

The boss spoke to the assembled media representatives at Carrington on Friday, before we travel to the north east on Saturday, for an evening match against the Magpies at St. James' Park.

Erik explained why he called Newcastle 'annoying' in a press conference last season, and he was questioned further on goalkeeper Andre Onana's form.

The Dutchman also addressed a query about the future of Donny van de Beek. You can read every word from the media briefing below.

Part two: Press conference v Newcastle Video

Part two: Press conference v Newcastle

Press conference | Erik ten Hag is quizzed further on Andre Onana and discusses Donny van de Beek's future...

Erik, do you think you are getting some excitement into Manchester United, at the moment. The way you are playing and the amount of goals you're scoring, do you think that is getting to where the fans want it to be?
"I think definitely, if you see in the goals we scored lately. In Copenhagen, in Everton, also on Wednesday, in Istanbul, we had great team goals. From really having a good plan, giving the players creativity in the positions where they perform best and we scored some great goals."

Donny van de Beek said last week that he would consider leaving in January. Will you allow him to leave and are there other players who have had those conversations about possibly going?
"I think Donny has to play. In games he was in the squad, so then he had the opportunity, but it was a slow start in the season because he still recovered from physical setbacks. But now he is back and is doing well in the training so, if we can't give him perspective, I can see that he has to play, for his career, for everything."

The game tomorrow, you said, last season, that Newcastle could be annoying with their timewasting. Have you seen a change in the way they approach games now? Do you think they don't do as much timewasting?
"I didn't say that. The timewasting. I make that point, clear. But the term annoying, that was a positive for them. It is a really difficult team to play so I meant it in a very positive way because I respect what they are doing. They are physical, they are very good in transitions and very organised in the pressing. They are doing a great job there and I like to play against them."
You've made some big selection calls in your time here, with Ronaldo, with Maguire, with Varane. But with Onana, you've stuck by him, even though he has made some high profile mistakes. Why is that? Is it a blind spot you have with him or do you feel he deserves that loyalty from you?
"I just explained he is after Alisson. In this moment he is the best stopper in the league from preventing expected goals so, then, you deserve to play."

It was noticeable after the game against Galatasaray in Istanbul, none of the players came and put an arm around him. I think Bayindir did. Can you understand it if some of the players are starting to lose faith in Andre? Is that understandable?
"No. But in this dressing room this will not happen. This dressing room is together. Yeah, football is a game of mistakes and everyone can make mistakes but then the team has to [apply a] bandage. This team has to cover that and so we will operate."
Part one: Press conference v Newcastle Video

Part one: Press conference v Newcastle

Press conference | Ten Hag discusses Kobbie Mainoo, Andre Onana, Newcastle's threat and more...

Is he undroppable then?
"Of course not, no-one is undroppable. That is also clear. We believe and we have a strong belief that he will help us win trophies."

Just on Andre again, I know he made a mistake on Wednesday but he was also involved in the first goal. His pass out leads to Garnacho scoring that goal. Because of the type of goalkeeper he is do you almost accept he will make some mistakes because he offers you more in other areas, different to other goalkeepers you've had?
"No, you don't accept [it], because he has the potential, he has the abilities to be solid in all the facets, all the elements of football. Yeah, he gives you also something extra. So definitely, in and out of possession."

Alejandro [Garnacho] has impressed in the last two games out left and it feels like he has got to start in that position. Where does that leave Marcus [Rashford] at the moment, because he also prefers to play in that role? Is it difficult to get both Marcus and Alejandro in the team as they both play from the left?
"You didn't see our games? You didn't see our games? We play against Copenhagen, they are both in the team, we play against Everton, they are both in the team. So now Rashy was suspended."

Ten Hag: What Mainoo brings to our midfield


Erik gave a detailed answer when asked about Kobbie's form, during his pre-match press conference.

But is it difficult to get them both playing at their best in the same team when they both prefer to play from the left?
"But that is your conclusion. Rashy can play from the right and he likes to play from the right. But he can also play through in the middle, and also from the left, so he is really motivated."

Your opponents on Saturday were on the end of a questionable VAR decision [in midweek]. If you could make one change to VAR this season what would you like to see changed?
"For me, VAR should be clear and obvious. Clear and obvious, I think that is the criteria."

Is Andre going to the Africa Cup of Nations? Has that decision been made yet?
"So when they call him, he has to go. But we are in talks."