Ten Hag reveals plans for World Cup period

Wednesday 09 November 2022 16:00

Erik ten Hag has provided detailed insight on how he plans to manage Manchester United's players during the forthcoming Qatar World Cup.

The Reds’ boss conducted a ‘fan press conference’ at Carrington on Wednesday, where supporters had the chance to quiz him on a wide range of subjects.
Representatives from 12 official supporters’ clubs were in attendance, and one of the questions – supplied by Kallum Nolan and Daniel Moore, from Middleton – asked Erik what the next six weeks or so would look like.
Many first-teamers will, of course, be representing their countries at the World Cup, but others will remain behind. And Ten Hag admits he’s thought long and hard about the best way to keep them progressing during an unusual period of the season.
Fans' pre-match press conference Video

Fans' pre-match press conference

In a special event, Erik ten Hag sat down with members of 12 Manchester United Supporters Clubs from around the world...

“We have a lot of players that are going to the World Cup and we are happy with that,” said the Dutchman, “as it means we have top-class players. 
“They go in for their nations, in different styles and different systems. They will play their games and hopefully most will be on the pitch as that guarantees they will keep fit. When you are not playing, I am a little bit concerned about them.
“For the ones that stay behind – and there are not a lot – it gives us the opportunity, first of all, to reflect on the last period and to make new plans, not only on how we are going in the right direction but how we can improve.”
Ten Hag revealed that those who remain in Manchester will enjoy a short period of rest and recovery, due to the hectic schedule lined up during the second half of the season. And after that, there is a clearly defined plan leading up to the restart.
“We have a proper programme for them and they have a short time for relaxation, because after we return, around Christmas, we will go through to the end of May,” he continued. 
“So they will have a short period of relaxation off but then we will go to a training camp to Cadiz, we will play games, we will come back and play another game – hopefully we win tomorrow [against Aston Villa] and have that next round of the Carabao Cup and then we have to be ready for the season to restart. 
“It depends on how the players come back – and we have a plan for them – it depends on how far they come in the World Cup, when they return into training. That’s the idea.”

The Debate: Will Ten Hag ring the changes?


The panellists on this week’s episode discuss whether Erik will shuffle the pack for Thursday’s Carabao Cup clash.

The boss also admitted that the mid-season World Cup will give him the chance to have a serious look at a few promising Academy players.
“It can also give us the opportunity… we talk about young players, we will bring them in so that they can present themselves to us,” Ten Hag said. 
“They get an opportunity, together with the ones that stay behind. We have some important players for us, for next year. They have to contribute to the success of us. 
“So it’s a combination [of working with young players] and keeping the seniors who have to contribute for us… they have to keep fit. They need games, they need training.”

Ten Hag's team news update for Villa tie


The boss hints at changes, but plans to select a strong line-up in the Carabao Cup third round.

Ten Hag was also asked about the fighting spirit that he is working to instil among the squad, which has been strongly in evidence after a hesitant start to the season.
“First of all, I want to emphasise, if you are talking about the spirit: one thing that I notice here, when you see the history, Manchester United in their history won a lot of trophies, a lot of titles,” Erik began. 
“[And] it was always by team spirit and fighting spirit. Manchester United also had fabulous offensive players, who I know were really the most creative and really recognisable players who fans could identify with. After all, it’s the team spirit and the team fighting that was the base that is in the culture of Manchester United. 
“That is one of the things I wanted to bring back and I think we are going in the right direction. Sometimes you have a setback like Sunday and we are definitely not happy with the performance. I feel responsible. When I see my team on Sunday, that is not Manchester United. I know they are not robots but still we have to demand it, that they bring it every game on the pitch, as often as possible. That has to be really often – it has to be.”