Part one: Every word from Erik’s press conference

Friday 01 September 2023 13:30

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has spoken to the media ahead of the Reds’ Premier League game against Arsenal this weekend.

The boss answered questions from journalists in his pre-match press conference at Carrington earlier on Friday afternoon, before Sunday’s 16:30 BST kick-off at the Emirates Stadium.

While that mammoth fixture is just around the corner, the briefing was understandably dominated by queries about potential additions to Ten Hag's squad, with it being deadline day in the summer transfer window.

The signing of Altay Bayindir has already been confirmed, with the Turkey international goalkeeper one of several talking points as Erik spoke to the press, as were several further reported incomings, Andre Onana’s international career and Sunday’s big game itself.

Read every word from the first part of Friday's pre-match press conference below...

Part one: Press conference v Arsenal Video

Part one: Press conference v Arsenal

Press conference part one | Hear from Erik ten Hag on deadline day, team news and Sunday's match against Arsenal...

Hi Erik, with Sunday's game, will Rasmus Hojlund be available to make his debut?
"Yes. He had a good training week, tomorrow we have a final training but he's doing well, he's responding well. So, yeah, he'll be available for Sunday's game."

We've seen Altay Bayindir arrive, will he be eligible to be involved on Sunday and will anyone potentially arriving be available?
"He will be in the squad as well, Altay. So, [we're] happy we have the keeper group. It's fully there, we've covered every position, so I think we have a very good keeper group with the arrival of Altay." 

Is there a chance of anyone else arriving on time to play on Sunday?
"What do you mean?"

Obviously United are looking at some other options, is there a chance any of them will be signed in time to play on Sunday?
"To play on Sunday? Potentially yes. Could be, but then we have to request it by now."

Does that mean [Sergio] Reguilon, is he here?
"He is here, he trained."

So, he will be available for Sunday as well?

We're told about [Sofyan] Amrabat being a midfield option that's moving close, will that give you the squad [you want]?
"You know that?" [laughs]

People in Florence seem to think that's true...
"Oh yeah. There's so many rumours. But it's nice, eh?"

But if you got that position sorted, would that give you the squad that you want?
"I think that we have done good business. We have constructed a strong squad and we are ready to go into the fight."

Does that also mean, we've spoken a lot about Harry [Maguire], Scott McTominay's been mentioned a lot - does that mean they are here, they are part of the squad, they have an important role to play?
"Yes, if you see the schedule, it's really condensed. When you see last season, [with] the World Cup, [it was a] crazy season. Last season takes longer, two weeks [longer]. We played the FA Cup final one week longer, we had a short break, a really condensed pre-season again, so we need numbers but also the numbers have to be quality. And I think with this squad, we have the depth and we have quality players in. We can be variable, in a variety of systems and we are happy with it. As I said, we are ready to go into the fight."

Team news: Hojlund fit to face Arsenal


Our new striker's availability for Sunday's Premier League game has been confirmed by Erik ten Hag.

Altay Bayindir, what do you like about him? He'll be the first Turkish player to play for Manchester United as well, so it's a big moment for Turkish football fans...
"Yeah, we followed him, scouted him very intensely and we think he has the skills to fit in [at] Man United, to fit in English football. So, we are really glad that we signed him, and we are confident that he will make a lot of progress in the coming period, in the coming years and he will be a huge contribution to our game."

And you mentioned Sergio Reguilon has trained with the club, what qualities will he bring in that position? Is he up to being thrown straight in at full-back immediately?
"He is a very experienced player, a player for big clubs, a player that's played already a lot of games in La Liga, in the Premier League. So, he has a very good background, we have seen he can play very intense football, so we are happy. While we had a problem with Luke Shaw injured, Ty[rell] Malacia injured, they are for [the] long term out, so I think we responded very well on that emergency situation."

And Sofyan Amrabat was a player you worked with at FC Utrecht, is he a player that could make a difference to this side?
"I can't tell, because I don't know if we can sign [him]. If we have news, we will report it immediately."

Altay Bayindir signs for United


The goalkeeper becomes the first Turkish player to represent the Reds.

And one more if I may, Andre Onana was quite cryptic on social media about whether he might be playing for Cameroon and coming back to the side there after withdrawing from international football - do you know anything more about that? Because obviously the Africa Cup of Nations is in the Ivory Coast this year and there would be an impact if he does play...
"I know everything about it, so of course we spoke about that situation before we signed him and we will be in good contact with Andre on how to deal with the situation."

So is he able to play for Cameroon again?
"What I said, I'm in good contact with Andre and we are on the same page, we know what to do, and also we know how we construct the squad if [he does play at the Africa Cup of Nations]. But, as I said, we have to speak about it and then we will make a decision."

Historically, games between Arsenal and Manchester United have been big games, what are you expecting from Mikel Arteta's side and what have you made of what they've done to their squad this season?

"It's one of the biggest games in the Premier League. We're really looking forward to that fight. They're always interesting games, intense games, I think it's two teams who really play offensive football with the right intentions I would say. The audience is always the big winner of that game, so we're really looking forward to that game."
Just finally, the Champions League draw, what have you made of your group and if you do get the additions that are hopeful for today, have you got the depth of squad to tackle four competitions?
"I think yeah. But therefore, we need the depth to go into the four competitions. But also, most of our players are internationals for their nations, so they will go all over the world, so we have to cover that. We have to be prepared for that situation, [so] that we can always put a competitive team on the pitch."

One final question if I may, there's a lot of expectation on Rasmus Hojlund, are you expecting him to make an immediate impact or should people, fans in particular and you and the coaching staff, have to be patient with him? Because there's a big focus on him, a big spotlight...
"I think for every player there is a big spotlight. At United, you have to perform. In every position and every player."

Is he fit enough to start this weekend, would you say? Or is that too soon?
"I think he's ready to start."

You will be able to see the second half of Erik ten Hag’s pre-match press conference from 22:30 BST on Saturday, on and in the United App.