Every word from part two of Erik's pre-Forest press conference

Monday 26 December 2022 22:30

Manchester United take on Nottingham Forrest on Tuesday 27 December at Old Trafford, the first Premier League clash between the sides since 1999.

After picking up a 2-0 win against Burnley in the Carabao Cup last Wednesday, United will look to continue the positive return to competitive action against Forest.

Speaking in his latest meeting with the press, ahead of the upcoming clash with Steve Cooper's side, Erik ten Hag was quizzed about the form of Marcus Rashford, a potential new striker and the future of on-loan goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who is ineligible to play against United for Forest.

You can read all of Erik's responses to the above topics, as well as a host of others, below...

Part two: Ten Hag's pre-Forest press conference Video

Part two: Ten Hag's pre-Forest press conference

Press conference part two| Ten Hag discusses the Reds' progress, transfers plans and more...

Erik, you took over a team that was low on confidence in May. There has been a lot of progress since then. Do you think fans can expect to see a lot more progress over the second half of the season and a better, more exciting team?

“I tried to express this already. But that (progress) is what we aim for. Many elements in football, what we have to do better to perform better as a team and to get better results. So, getting more control of the game, getting more dominant in the game and getting to a higher level in general.”

Marcus (Rashford) is the top Premier League scorer, but he’s only got four. You’ve only scored 20 goals in the Premier League. Your goal difference is zero. You already know this. So, is it a good sign that despite this lack of goals, you are still fifth? Or is it something that if you don’t solve could kill your hopes of top four and winning a trophy?

“I see that it is a good sign and we are still fifth and we are aware that we have to score more goals. But what I just tried to express is that we have to improve on other elements in football. And as you see today, we created so many opportunities, no big 100 percent chances, and we have to be more decisive there. You worry when you don’t create chances. So, I am really happy with the attacking performance today that we created seven or eight-100 percent chances, but it is clear we have to score more.”

When you look at the squad, do you think “Yeah we miss a lethal goal scorer?”

“No. Because when I analyse the first 14 games and Europe, so 20 games, we have a lot of problems in the front line. And often, I had nothing to choose. Or players were not 100 percent fit and we had to play them and that was a problem during the first 20 games this season. I think when we get players available and better fit in the frontline, then already we will score more goals.”

I know he cannot play against you, but does Dean Henderson’s future at Manchester United lie elsewhere given the club are open to putting David (De Gea) on a new contract?

“I do not want to give that decision already now. I think he is on a loan for one season. So, during that season and when the season comes to an end, we will make that decision. And that depends on a lot of factors."

Ten Hag backs Rashford to continue hot streak


Erik discusses Marcus's recent form and the prospect of a new face joining him in United's attacking ranks in January.

Have you been impressed by what you have seen from him?

“I think he is playing really well at Nottingham Forest, yeah.”

I know you said there are goals within this squad, but do you feel like you need to bring in a striker or a goal scorer in January to give yourself the best possible chance of all of your objectives from now until the end of the season?

“There are two things. One, a striker could come from our own club, see [Alejandro] Garnacho, see [Anthony] Elanga, [Facundo] Pellistri who made a good impression at the World Cup and also last week in the game against Everton at training. So that is first. And yes, we are aware that we lost a striker, so we do have to get a striker in. But it has to be the right one. And the right one has to bring the quality to the team and not just and add to the squad. Because that gives you only problems and you know the criteria is high in Manchester United.”

Erik, it is the time of year when kids get their report from school. What grade would you give yourself for your first few months at United and what comments do you have on how you have done so far?

“I am happy I don’t have to do that. I leave that to others.”

Okay. But if you had too, what grade would you give yourself so far?

“I don’t give myself a grade. I give my best every day, the best I have. I want to see every day a better version of myself and that is what I can promise to everyone here internally here at United and also to the fans. And I am confident that we will get the right process and the progress will come.”

So, is that “Good start, can do better?”

"There is accounting for me. You can do better. I have already said before that when you are satisfied, it brings you to laziness. I don’t want that and for me, good is not good enough, we have to do better and that counts also for the manager.”

Erik, you mentioned before about missing a few options up front. But Marcus has scored three at the World Cup, he scored again (against Burnley). Do you see him as the type of player that can fill in that void of goals, maybe he could reach 20 in the second half of the season?

“I don’t want to pin myself on a number. But I said from the start, I think he is capable of scoring 20 goals in the Premier League only so I am convinced about that. He now has four but he has scored many other goals. He scored three goals at the World Cup and you also have the potential to score those numbers of goals in the Premier League.”