Key quotes: Ten Hag on Eriksen, FA Cup replays and more

Friday 19 April 2024 14:00

Part one of Erik ten Hag’s pre-match press conference to preview Manchester United's Emirates FA Cup semi-final was wide-ranging in its topics, as the boss fielded questions from the assembled media at Carrington.

Ten Hag spoke about the challenge that awaits his side against Coventry City in Sunday's 15:30 BST kick-off at Wembley Stadium, and had some warm words for former Reds striker Mark Robins, who he will come up against in the opposition dugout this weekend.

The manager was also quizzed on several subjects aside from our next fixture, including Christian Eriksen's game time, Jadon Sancho's loan spell at Borussia Dortmund and this week's news that FA Cup replays will be scrapped from next season.

You can watch the first part of Erik’s media briefing below or scroll down for a round-up of the key quotes...
Part one: Press conference v Coventry Video

Part one: Press conference v Coventry

Press conference part one | The boss was asked about our squad, Garnacho, Casemiro, FA Cup replays, Sancho and more…


"We did our job and we are prepared, so we know their team, we know how they play, we know the individual abilities of the players. Of course, also we know the manager, a former United player, striker, his long period there, he's doing a fantastic job there. So, we know a lot about them. 

“Of course they are dangerous, they are in the semi-final. It's logical. Last season, they were that far away [gestures small gap] from being promoted to the Premier League. So, they do a fantastic job over there. We have seen the game against Wolves, in the quarter-final, the mentality in the team is fabulous, so we have to play to our best levels."


"Yeah, Antony and Scott [McTominay] I expect them to be back. Scott didn't train all week, partial on Wednesday, today I expect him full. Antony did train the whole week. 

“We have some problems I already said. Harry [Maguire], all game against Bournemouth he struggled, he had an issue, he had a small injury, he didn't train this week so far. But now he's back on the pitch. So, we expect him today back in the team training. He will be available I think, I hope, for Sunday."


"It's very sad for the British football culture, but also I think it was inevitable. No one can do anything for it, it's due to the overload in the schedule, and that's dictated by FIFA, UEFA, and also England is part of UEFA. There is so much overload on the players. We talk [about] this issue so often. And anywhere it has to stop. As I said, I feel really sorry, really sad for the clubs in English football, but for top players, this is a measure of what can make some space in the schedule."

Ten Hag's team news for Wembley


The Dutchman gives the latest on three Reds ahead of our meeting with Coventry City.


"I think we needed a six [defensive midfielder] when I arrived here and, last season, Casemiro was fantastic. I don't think he ever scored so many goals as well. But as a six, as a holding midfielder, as a strategist, he was so important for the team. This season, he struggled with some bad injuries, he never had this in his career. But I know he is such a winner. See his career, all his career he always won. Everywhere where he was, there will be success. And I trust he will give us also the success, and I know he needs games and he will be better. I'm very confident about him, he's a fighter, that's why he won the big trophies. He's a personality, and he's a very important player for us and, as I say, he will give us success."


"I think that [Kobbie Mainoo’s progress] is the main reason. He [Kobbie] was so important for us, he is playing in that six/eight role, [to] bring creation to the team, bring composure, in our possession game, to the team. I think that is the main reason why Christian has less minutes than last season."

Ten Hag: Forget last season


Erik says our final defeat to Manchester City in 2023 is not relevant, as we confront Coventry's challenge at Wembley.


"Alejandro is a young player, he has to learn a lot. He apologised for it [liking a social media post criticising his substitution at Bournemouth] and, after it, we moved on."


"Of course, I follow international football, and I always follow the players who are on loan in other clubs. So, it was a fantastic game, Dortmund against Atletico Madrid. It was a great performance from Dortmund and also for Jadon, that is good news because he made his contribution to this result for Dortmund.

"We know Jadon Sancho is a fantastic football player. So that is not a surprise for us. That is not the issue."