Erik ten Hag addressed the press on Saturday afternoon as Manchester United prepare to face Aston Villa in the Premier League.
Ten Hag previewed the game on Saturday afternoon, with the quotes embargoed until Monday evening. As transcribed by club media, read every word of Ten Hag’s pre-match press conference below.
Erik, is Anthony Martial back, or is he still unwell?
“He’s still unwell.”
On his future, the indication is he won’t have his contract extended at the end of the season. Is there a possibility that he has to be sold in January?
“When we have news, then of course I will tell it. But that is not our aim.”
What’s your message to the United fans before this huge game against Villa on Boxing Day? Do you need their help?
“Firstly, I am sure they are very disappointed in us, and we have to put things right. We have to do things differently, and we really appreciate all the time they’re supporting us, even with the setbacks we have during this season, they’re all the time behind us, and we are really appreciative of that. But of course, we need any help [we can get]. But first of all, the team and I have to do it.”
You gave a starting debut to Willy Kambwala against West Ham. Can you tell us about him?
”Yeah. So we had five centre-backs who started the season. Today we had three or four who were ill or injured. And then you go and swap positions in the team. But he makes a good impression in training and during games of the Under-21s. So we decided to play him. I think he has shown he has the capabilities. I think his performance was very solid. You can see has a very bright future. Of course, he has to work on himself, but you can see his potential, and we are very pleased, I think, with his performance.”
Do you think he has the skills to become a modern-day centre-back?
”As we’ve seen in this game, I think we have seen many skills for a modern centre-back, and as I say, I’m very pleased with his performance.”
What do you need to do differently against Aston Villa compared to what you did against West Ham?
”To start [we have to understand] the meaning of the first goal. When you control the game as we did today, but Villa are different side. They are in very good form and are a very good team. So we have first come to that point, but if you are creating the chances, you have to take them if you want to win the game because otherwise you don’t win games. That’s clear.”
A lot of players have been injured. You’ve got a lot of young players. For this game against Villa, do you need your experienced players, your big players, to step up?
“In every game, they have to step up, and you know, you’ve said now the word, two or three times… you have to take responsibility. I have to take responsibility, and the players with me have to take responsibility. But everyone, and maybe in moments, you expect from the seniors even more when you have young players around. But yeah, when you are good enough, then you are also old enough, So we have to do it together. It doesn’t matter what age it is, we have to put out the team who has to win the game.”
You keep saying about responsibility. Are you disappointed with the players not taking responsibility today?
“No, I’m not disappointed by the attitude. But of course, we know what the standard is at Man United. We have to win as a team. And therefore, yeah, I take the word responsibility. We have to take that as a team. And every individual has to contribute 100 per cent in that responsibility.”
Of those injured and ill at the moment, are you expecting to get any back for Boxing Day?
“I think hopefully Raphael Varane will return. And for the rest, maybe Amad Diallo, we’ll see how far he is. He has trained now for two weeks. They are probably the ones who can maybe return.”
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