Ten Hag's matchday message to his team
Erik ten Hag expects everybody to be united when the Reds take on Chelsea in the Premier League tonight (20:15 GMT kick-off).
Much has been said and written, in the wake of the below-par performance and subsequent defeat at Newcastle United, but the manager has delivered a message to his team in advance of our battle with the Blues.
Erik wants his players to perform with confidence, and produce a show of defiance, to generate the positive backing of the Old Trafford crowd.
Here is what the boss had to say to MUTV's Mark Sullivan during his exclusive pre-match interview for club media...
“Obviously, we train one day, after our return from Newcastle. We had a tough week, last week, three games in six days. We had a day off and, today, we are back in. Yeah, our last performance was not the way we wanted so we have to put this right and we had a setback so then you have to be resilient. We have to show resilience, and get back to [the same] levels against Galatasaray and Everton.”
And what’s the team news? Any changes to your squad or updates on those trying to get back like Mason Mount, Jonny Evans, Amad and Christian Eriksen?
“There are some positives but [they are] not back already in the squad.”
Other than that, it's the same squad as Newcastle then?
“More or less, yeah.”
You’ve mentioned about needing to be mindful of individual players’ workload in the last couple of games - is this something that plays a bigger part in your selection for a very busy month like this one?
“Yeah but I think we can pick the team, so we have a choice, a selection. Players have to prove themselves all the time. It’s not that we are without players. I think, every time, we can put out a strong selection.”
Chelsea have had mixed results themselves recently so how do you assess them?
“You can see it’s a very good team. In possession, they’re very comfortable, so that means you have to defend very good against those sides. You have to play to your best, in the levels of defending, but also we want to make it our game by dominating [with] our possession and make it difficult. But we know, as I said in this answer, we have to play our best. I always say it, when I get this question, it’s not about them, it’s about us and how we play against them.”
We’ve often had memorable games against Chelsea, including last season’s 4-1 win at Old Trafford. Before that though, there were five consecutive draws which suggests this will be tight again?
“Yeah but it’s history. We have to think in the future and it’s always, I think, a very good game - Manchester United against Chelsea. Two big teams with great history but it’s about the future.”
What must you do to be decisive in a potentially close game like this?
“Be confident. Show the belief from the start, act as a team and put the plan on the pitch. It’s about the determination, the belief and the desire you put in.”
“The result is always the most important, and no matter [what]. The result, it's football. Top football is always about results. By the end of the day, it doesn’t matter, even the performance, but you know and I know you need a good performance to get the foundations to get the right result.”
Is this a time for everyone to come together at Old Trafford and show defiance on Wednesday night, developing something of a siege mentality?
“No, I’m convinced. I think we, the team, me, with the fans, we are always unified and there’s a very strong bond. Away, and at home, there is very good spirit and a very good dynamic in the stadium. Always away and definitely at Old Trafford. So I’m looking forward. We have three home games ahead of us. It’s so important as with those three games, we can make a very good step into a bright future.”