The first part of Erik's interview in full

Saturday 09 July 2022 11:00

Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag sat down with club media ahead of our upcoming pre-season tour to reflect on his first two weeks of training with his squad.

The Dutchman discussed his first impressions of the club, and revealed how he has adjusted to living in Manchester.

Part two of his interview will be released on Sunday, but here is part one of what the boss had to say to our own Stewart Gardner…

Ten Hag Q&A - Part 1: My move to Manchester Video

Ten Hag Q&A - Part 1: My move to Manchester

Ahead of Tour 2022, Ten Hag discusses his first two weeks at Carrington, moving to Manchester and more...

Erik, how are you feeling now that you’ve had a chance to get set up and meet the players?
“You really are looking forward to that point when you first meet everyone around Carrington, who all take care of the players but, finally, to have the players on the pitch who have to bring the results. Of course, I’ve been looking forward to that point, to meet them, go to the pitch with them, to work with them, to coach them, so it was a real pleasure.”

Just from being around here the last few weeks, you have brought a real energy to the club straight away…
“I think it’s the way I am. Of course, I want to bring the energy in my team, but I must say, the players do really well. They are really focused. They bring, for themselves, the energy. You see they enjoy playing football. They enjoy playing football together and they really work well together.”

What are you hoping to learn about the players in the coming weeks that you may not know already?
“No, I don’t know. I just started and I had a few talks and we had 10 days but, in the 10 days, the internationals only came in last Monday. I have to learn, to know my squad, the personalities, the individuals, the players. That is, I think, one of the biggest advantages from the tour, we have two weeks to work really close together and we will learn about each other because I want to learn about them and they want to learn about me, my coaches and assistant managers.”

Talking of your assistants, Steve McClaren is no stranger to Manchester United. Has it helped you and your staff having someone who is already familiar with the club?
“Of course, and that is also a part of the reason I really wanted him. Of course, he has other competences and capabilities but the fact that he knows the club, I think, is a big advantage for us. Although it was a long time ago, he still knows the culture of Manchester United.”

Training highlights: Getting set for Tour Video

Training highlights: Getting set for Tour

The Reds continue to put in the work at Carrington ahead of Friday's departure for Bangkok...

You have worked with Mitchell van der Gaag for a long time and have been very successful together - can you tell us more about him and the qualities he will bring to the club and how much of a support have the existing staff been to you?
“I think, both Steve McClaren and him, he is a coach from the moment he was born. Mitchell van der Gaag also had a lot of experience. First, as a player, he played many games in the highest levels in different leagues and, after that, he became coach, also in different countries, at different levels. So, he gained a lot of experience and most important for these two is they know how to win because they proved it in the past.”

How much have the existing staff helped you at Carrington?
“Yeah definitely, you feel, and you see that we have really dedicated staff around us, really experienced staff and they have a lot of knowledge to bring a lot.”

You’re very encouraging to the players in training, always giving advice and trying to improve them – has that always been your style?
“That is my job, to construct a team and to improve the team. You can do it in different ways or in more ways but, to start, it is out of a philosophy. And then you build it and go into the individuals, and you give them the rules and principles. But, also in the positions of individuals, you give them coaching advice, and, in the end, it’s about team results and better team performances so you give them advice to perform into the team.”

Ajax had a dominant record over Feyenoord in your time in charge, but you were clearly impressed enough by their left-back to make him your first signing at United. What can the fans look forward to seeing in Tyrell Malacia?
“He’s a player, so I think he’s the modern left-back or full-back. He suits the profile and most important is, from every full-back, that he closes the right area, but he can also take part in the offensive side of our game, and he can do that really well. And I think he will really contribute to the team.”

Ten Hag: Why we signed Malacia


The manager outlines the strengths that convinced him to move for the exciting full-back.

How have you been enjoying settling into life in Manchester? Have you been approached by many United fans in the street and if so, what do they usually say?
“Yeah, I do feel they are really committed to this club, waiting for good times and they are really supportive of Manchester United. It’s good to see that and it motivates me even more.”

How would you describe your principles and philosophy and what you bring to Manchester United?
“We want to play a proactive style of football – on the ball and off the ball. That is, trying to do that has to be our intentions and it’s now, firstly, the coaches bring it over to the team that we are, in every situation, proactive. We are brave and willing to have the ball, to give each other options. But also off the ball, to get the pressing style is what we’re working for together."