Erik ten Hag speaking in his press conference

Every word from Erik’s pre-City press conference: Part two

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:30

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag spoke on a range of different topics, as he previewed Sunday's Premier League clash against Manchester City in the second part of his pre-match press conference.

The Reds are seeking a fourth consecutive win in all competitions, as Pep Guardiola's side visit the Theatre of Dreams for the 191st Manchester derby.

Having beaten FC Copenhagen in dramatic fashion on Tuesday evening in the UEFA Champions League, spirits are seemingly high after Andre Onana's last-minute penalty heroics.

Set to welcome further returning faces back into the fold for the visit of our crosstown rivals, Erik was poised to answer many questions by journalists at Carrington on Friday.

Scroll down to both read, and watch, everything the boss had to say ahead of Sunday's showdown in M16...
Part two: Press conference v Manchester City Video

Part two: Press conference v Manchester City

Press conference | Erik is asked about Andre Onana, Bruno Fernandes and more, ahead of the 191st Manchester derby...

Hi Erik, just going back to Andre Onana, in the Champions League final he played for Internazionale against City, the UEFA technical report described him as 'a holding midfielder' given the way he plays. Is that how you see him playing for your United team? If so why, and why do you like this [style]?
“The first job of a goalkeeper is to save, to save his goal. That is his first job and his main job. Dont forget that. But he is a keeper who you can use as an extra player. If we are developing, I am sure he can be more progressive and be [played] even more higher up the pitch. He can then be there higher up the pitch in extra play and so that's an advantage.”
In the game against Manchester City on Sunday, is it too early in the development of Andre [Onana] in your team to play him this way?

“It also depends on the opposition. How strong is their press for instance, how good is the team around him. If it's possible - and in my philosophy - he has to do it every game, but this is not always possible and then you have to adapt, as I just tried to make clear. Even if you are not always playing well and the team is not playing well, or we are not playing to the standards we expect. You still have to win, so then find a way to win. Be pragmatic.”
This might be the last Manchester derby before the football operation changes. Do you think your players have any worries or concerns moving forward? I know you are an experienced manager and you will take the situation as it is now, but do you think in the squad there are little bits in the back of their minds 'I wonder what is going to happen to me,' or will that be used as motivated to do well and show that they belong here?
“I don't think so. Of course they are committed to the club, but they are especially committed to this team. Therefore, they take it [on] and they want to be successful. [If] they want to be successful, then they are aware you need the team, you need your team-mates. We need cooperation, you need to play [with] the best players you have in this team. When the cooperation is growing, we will play better and that is for their benefit. I think that is how the players are thinking and they are not thinking about strategic reviews or something like structures or whatever.”
On Premier League goalkeepers, it happened with David De Gea, it happened with Claudio Bravo - when they come from another league, it takes them time to settle. Can you explain why that is because I would have thought the Premier League is not so different to Serie A or La Liga, yet goalkeepers seem to need that time like Onana has. Why do you think that is?
“There are certain things that are different of course. I know in general it is eleven v eleven, this is clear. It is still about tackling, defending, transitions, but I think there is more. The approach to the game, the speed of the game, the intensity of the game, the varieties in styles. So there is a difference and players need time to adjust.”
The stats seem to suggest Bruno Fernandes doesn't have the same kind of impact against the so called 'top six clubs' as he does against the others. Do you understand that, do you accept that? Does he need to step up against City on Sunday?
“Last year he scored, so I don't know. As long as he does that again, I am happy.”
You've not really noticed any drop off against the other teams?

“No. Bruno [Fernandes] is one of those players that when we have a lot of the ball he is at his best. There are games against top teams when we have less of the ball, so maybe then there are less moments. Then it is about taking benefit from such moments and then for this, you have to work hard for the team and to get a result because that is the most important thing, that the team is winning.”

Ten Hag reveals derby team news


The boss provides an update on Casemiro and Aaron Wan-Bissaka ahead of the City contest.

Jamie Carragher has suggested this morning that you have gone backwards. I know he is a former Liverpool player, but judging from your earlier remarks, you don't seem to think so. Do you think you are still making progress?
“In possession we have to do better, but there are reasons that I don't go into, but everyone is seeing. There are also facts that I disagree with, [in which] we are much better. We are in the top three in the Premier League for high-ball regains. We in the top [teams] in the Premier League for middle-ball regains. So when we are pressing, we are very good. So that is not the truth what he is saying.”
Erik, we didn't see Mason Mount come on the pitch in midweek, I just wanted to know what you have made from his start to life at United? Is this game against City the type of game that would suit Mason Mount's technical abilities?

“I think in every game our game would benefit from Mason Mount. I don't have any concern as to line him up. He did come on in a lot of games, he started in a lot of games. In the last game he didn't but definitely he is one we consider for Sunday because as you say, he has abilities to be very helpful against City.”