Every word from Erik's press conference: Part two

Friday 08 December 2023 22:30

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was asked several questions about the current shape of his squad in part two of Friday afternoon’s press conference at Carrington.

With the turn of the year approaching, player contracts and January signings were topics put to Erik by the press, while the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations also prompted discussion on the Reds’ goalkeeping position, with Andre Onana eligible to go and represent Cameroon at the mid-season tournament.

You can see his responses in those conversations below, plus plenty more besides, ahead of United’s Premier League game at home to Bournemouth on Saturday...
Part two: Press conference v Bournemouth Video

Part two: Press conference v Bournemouth

Press conference part two | Before Bournemouth (H), Erik is asked about contracts, the January transfer window + more...

Erik, with the AFCON coming, you bought a number two keeper in the summer... is there anything in your mind about January possibly for cover in that area knowing you could lose your keeper for that period of time?
"So, I think what we need is three very good keepers for a successful season. Then, talent in the back. In the best situation also, one or two keepers you have on loan because you have to develop that group all the time. We are pleased with the group we have now. We were aware of this situation, you have to manage that, we are covering. We have a very strong keeper group, especially the first three. They all can play, they are all capable to play on the highest standards needed. We are happy with that group and we are comfortable."

Garnacho's form at the minute, the excitement he gives the team and the threat up front, it must be very difficult to leave a young player like that out at the minute when he is really stamping his mark? Does it also show to anyone in the squad that if you take your chance, you'll give the player it?
"Yeah, so we make players to make this development happen. That was our assessment at the start of the season, we wanted to bring him and give him the time to deliver what he's doing in this moment. I think there's a big potential and a lot where he can build on, but we are happy with how he is performing at this moment. We are happy with his contribution, always the base, the foundation, is the defending part, but now also attacking-wise, he has the key actions. He has the assists, he has a goal threat, he scores goals. That is also very important for an offensive player, that you get the production in."
We all know the stories of his attitude maybe a year or so ago, late for team meetings in Australia, you've obviously talked to him and that side has gone...
"I haven't seen it but I don't think it's fair. He had some issues, but young players have to learn what is needed, so the lifestyle for a professional footballer. But, in the meantime, he knows."

Erik, you mentioned in an interview this week that you wouldn't do things differently in your handling of Jadon Sancho, do you think now, as we enter towards the window next month, do you think it's only right that he has to go?
"So, it's about culture and every player has to match certain standards, and it was about that. So, what will happen, yeah, he knows what he has to do if he wants to return. So, it's up to him."

Would you agree though that what's happening now can't continue?
"He knows what he has to do. It's up to him."

Ten Hag: Awards treble was a team effort


Erik gathered his squad to share in the honours bestowed on Alejandro Garnacho, Harry Maguire and himself.

I think it was around this time last year that a number of players' contracts were extended, the plus-one options were taken up on them... is that going to be the case with I think it's Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Hannibal, Martial... do you intend to extend the deals with all those players?
"When we have news about that... it's absolutely in our mindset, we are discussing things and when we have news, we will bring it."

Just on a similar note, with the setback that Malacia has had, will Reguilon definitely stay at the club for the rest of the season? Because I think there was a break clause in his deal for January?
"Also, for that we have to make a final decision but there is another club Spurs involved in it as well."

Just back on Jadon, as it's a disciplinary matter, is he on full pay? Even though he's not contributing to the first-team squad and training away and eating a packed lunch on his own sort of thing... is he on full pay?
"I think that is an internal matter."

Okay, but the reason why I ask is if he is [on full pay], and I'm guessing he is, surely that's a waste of the club's funds? As Chris was sort of saying, maybe it's best for all parties if he considers parting the ways for each party?
"As I said, it's an internal matter and we will see what happens."
Just in general, I know it's a couple of weeks away, but are you expecting to make many changes to the squad in January, either players leaving or coming in?
"I don't think so, but a lot is going to happen in the winter. But we have to be prepared when opportunities are there or uncertain circumstances or surprises [arise], we have to be ready to act."

With Garnacho, because he is a lot younger than Rashford, is it sometimes easier to convince him to do the defensive work? You know because Rashford played for a number of different managers with different styles and different systems, whereas Garnacho is a lot fresher... is it easier to convince him to do what you want him to do?
"No. Rashy knows exactly what to do and nowadays football, it's not possible. See all the top-level teams, all the top-level players are doing the jobs. If you can't do it, you will not play. But I don't refer that to Rashy, because Rashy is doing the job in general."