Friday Briefing: van de Beek asks for focus
Donny van de Beek is demanding one thing more than any other from his fellow Manchester United team-mates ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Arsenal: focus.
Our new Dutch midfielder admits the Reds were cockahoop in the dressing room after Wednesday night’s 5-0 destruction of Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig, but the former Ajax man knows it will mean nothing if they can’t back it up across every other competition.
Van de Beek made his first Champions League start for the club during the match, showing great promise at the tip of a midfield diamond. And he admits he’s hungry for a starting XI spot in the Premier League come Sunday.
"It was amazing,” said our no.34. “Champions League… these nights are always special. 5-0, I mean, it's an incredible win. We are really happy, and now we focus again already on Arsenal.“In the dressing room? Everybody was in a happy phase. It's normal if you win [against] a difficult opponent. Leipzig showed last year that they are really strong and have a good team. But I think we showed also that we are also really strong and we have an amazing team and we just need to keep going now.”
The relentless fixture schedule means there are three more games before the international break – with trips to Istanbul and Everton looming – but van de Beek says all the players are enjoying the challenge.
“Players always want to play games. Training is also nice, but the games... this is why you're playing football,” stressed the ex-Ajax man.“I think a lot of games [means] we can improve always and I am sure that we will win more if we stay in the focus.
“Arsenal have showed that they have really good players, and I mean we need to be focused. We won yesterday and everybody's happy and it's good for the confidence and everything, but now we must go on to that game.“A lot of big games are coming up now. A lot of games. We need to stay in the focus and then I'm sure that we make more nice wins.”
Van de Beek also implied that defenders should get used to the heroics Marcus Rashford delivered in midweek, insisting that there’s more to come from our no.10.
“He's an amazing player,” reflected Donny. “I see already from day one [and] the moment that I arrived here his quality, and he's also a really good guy.“He’s always working hard and [is] really talented. I like him also a person, and I'm really happy for him. He's already a big player and will show a lot more of his quality – I'm sure about that.”
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will take part in a press conference with the media ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match with Arsenal, which will be streamed live via our Official App, ManUtd.com and MUTV. We’ll bring you the latest team news from the boss and you’ll also be able to read every word from the manager via a full transcript of his briefing.
It’s also a big night for another one of our teams: our Youth Cup semi-final with Chelsea kicks off at 19:45 GMT. You will be able to watch the game in full on MUTV from 22:00 GMT. For live coverage, UK viewers can view the match on BT Sport.