Erik ten Hag faced the media on Friday afternoon ahead of Manchester United’s clash against Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday.
The Reds currently sit six points behind the current league champions on the table and have won three consecutive games for the first time this season.
However, their performances in recent bouts will not be able to secure any result against Pep Guardiola’s men, but the Reds can take confidence that they were 2-1 winners the last time the two sides met at Old Trafford.
During his pre-match press conference for the game, Ten Hag discussed several key topics, including the latest team news, a response to the news that the Football Association are investigating winger Alejandro Garnacho, and the lack of goalscoring at the club this season.
Every word from the manager can be read below:
Latest team news | “Aaron [Wan-Bissaka] was training today, Casa is a race against the clock, not 100%.”
Response to potential Alejandro Garnacho ban | “Not in this moment, we are talking with the FA, what you see, I can confirm that and I want to emphasise we are together, we are united, you saw that with the post of Andre.”
On the growing confidence | “That’s definitely to see we are back where we wanted to be, this is a hard team to beat. They find a way to win, we’re going in the right direction.”
On the derby | “I think it’s a match that is so huge because it’s Manchester, it’s internal, but it’s also about world football. All the eyes will be on this game globally.”
On the performances of late | “I said in the right direction, we have a way to go, I see positives and I see also negatives, probably what Christian [Eriksen] is referring to, we are not consistently in position at the level we can be where we show in games we can be, like Arsenal away and the first 20 minutes at Bayern away. We should do this on a consistent basis, but pressing we’re quite good, we have the most ball regains from the whole Premier League, the most middle regains in the whole league, our defending and pressing organisation, that is us. But we don’t take benefit in the attacking transition moments, we have the ability in our teams to take benefits from it. This is how to grow and progress and the games will become more easy.”
On the lack of goals | “The cooperation has to click, but we showed this week some examples where there are so many we have overload positions, going in overload position to the opponent’s goal and we don’t net or don’t even hit the target. We don’t have time to train this, we give some coaching and I’m convinced with the quality from our players that they will go and score more goals.”
On Andre Onana’s form | “You give him the standards and also the expectations, but also it’s about getting to the same level. He has high expectations from himself. We give him the confidence, look what you did in the past for great clubs in great leagues, you have the ability and the skills. The last two games were good progress, now we have to keep this going. It’s very good but at Manchester United good is not good enough.”
On Marcus Rashford’s difficulties | “[We have to] give him the trust and play him every game, most of the games he finishes every game, so I have a strong belief he will return to scoring a lot of goals.”
On how far away United are from Man City’s level and consistency | “In this moment they’re six points ahead, we’re six points back, we have to catch up. We know we have to progress the team, make developments. It has to do with the cooperation, the movement around it, we have to work on that.”
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