Every word from Erik's pre-Liverpool press conference

Friday 19 August 2022 14:31

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag spoke to the media on Friday afternoon, to answer their questions and preview our tantalising clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford.

United host Jurgen Klopp's side at the Theatre of Dreams on Monday evening at 20:00 BST and will be looking to achieve our first win of the 2022/23 season, and of Ten Hag's tenure.

The Dutchman fielded queries on our North West rivals, Cristiano Ronaldo, the latest transfer rumours and more.

With part two being held back until 22:30 BST on Sunday evening, here's everything Ten Hag said in part one of his press conference on Friday...

Part one: Erik's press conference v Liverpool Video

Part one: Erik's press conference v Liverpool

Ten Hag discusses rivalries, responding to adversity and preparing to face Liverpool...

Hi Erik. Obviously last weekend was a bit difficult for everyone connected with the club. You've got a huge game coming up on Monday. What are you expecting from that match and how have the squad reacted?
"I think I make myself clear. I was definitely not happy and in football you can talk about football, you can talk about planning our philosophy but the basic stuff has to be good, and that starts with the right attitude. So you need a fighting spirit on the pitch and I didn't see that from minute one."

Do you expect to see that, I presume, on Monday?
"I think it's basic. You have to bring it in every game on the pitch and of course especially Monday night. But you bring it every game."

There's been a lot of talk about transfers this week, as there always is at this club. Casemiro is one, can you provide any update on him?
"No. As long as a player has not signed, I cannot tell [you] anything."

Erik, there are a lot of protests planned before the ownership before the game on Monday. Can you understand why that is the case, and what would you say to those supporters?
"I can only say the owners want to win and the fans, we want them behind the club. And I can understand sometimes, but I am not that long in the club so that I can [not] see all the backgrounds. But we have to fight together, we have to be unified and fight together."

Can I just ask you about Cristiano Ronaldo. There was a lot of talk around him after the game on Saturday. Is he still part of your plans?
"I don't know why he is in particular focus after Saturday. It was the team performance and the whole team's attitude, including Ronaldo."

Can you guarantee that he's going to be here on 2 September?
"He is in our plans so that is what I can say."

What are your Predictions for the Liverpool game? Video

What are your Predictions for the Liverpool game?

Aoife Mannion and Danny Webber share their line-up, first scorer and Man of the Match calls for Monday…

The next fixture is probably historically the biggest in English football. Do you have any memories of it or feelings around it? Have you been well educated on Manchester United v Liverpool?
"I know we are the rivals. We have to win every game but especially this game, yeah, I know."

In terms of the results so far, you speak about the wrong attitude, not having a fighting spirit. It seems that psychologically, the team are quite scarred, especially from last season. How do you try to change that?
"It starts with yourself. Act as a team. Follow the rules and principles and work hard, as hard as you can maximise. If you do that, then you get confidence."

Both Brighton and Brentford decided to bypass the press and go long. It's unlikely that Liverpool will do that as well but are you changing your approach in any way for this game, or are you going to stick to what you've done?
"Every game is different. So a different approach, but the philosophy and the plan will be the same."
Erik, what has this week been like for you?
"It's a week that's normal as a manager. That you see a game, you have a plan, a way of play and then you check how the game went. And then you analyse and you see what's wrong and what's good. Now obviously, a lot went wrong, but what I say is you don't have to talk about anything when the attitude is not right."

And how do you manage to deal with the scrutiny and criticism when you have seven days between a match that's gone so badly and to then build up to a game against Liverpool?
"At first I have a look by myself and then I make clear analysis. And then I take notice of some criticism, and criticism is [varied]. Some is really good, good advice, I will take them [on board]. But also some are not that good, so I [take no notice of them]."
Does it help that it's Liverpool next, to get a reaction from the team?
"We work from game to game and now it's Liverpool. Obviously we know what's going on when you play against Liverpool and especially when you're Manchester United. So of course you have to be ready but also again you have to cut a point, you have to fight yourself into the season. But it is from game to game."

Has it been difficult to motivate the players this week, and is it something that you've spoken to them about?
"No, it's not difficult to motivate this team because my experience with them is that, from the start of the season, they work really well on the training pitch."