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Every word Erik ten Hag said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Manchester United vs Real Sociedad

Dylan Penketh

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Every word Erik ten Hag said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Manchester United vs Real Sociedad

Erik ten Hag spoke to the press ahead of Manchester United's Europa League opening fixture against Real Sociedad.

Ten Hag was questioned on Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Cristiano Ronaldo, his Europa League ambitions and more ahead of the first group stage game of the season.

Is Anthony Martial still out?

"Yes, he is still out. He is progressing but he is not ready to get back into team training or in a game."

Eric Bailly made some comments about English players facing preferential treatment. How do you see what the case was last season?

"I cannot (comment). I have nothing to say about that because it was last season. I wasn't in charge so I don't know the situation."

But nationality would never come into your thinking regarding selections?

"Not for me."

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Is the Europa League a tournament where you will rotate your players for?

"We have to win every game, and we want to win every tournament, so we have to take everything serious. We not only have a team, we have a squad, that's clear. But we have to win every game. That is the mentality that Manchester United needs."

How do you keep players happy when some of them have been on the bench more often than not?

"Maybe I cannot keep them all happy every game but everyone gets their game-time if they perform well, it's quite clear. But what I say, we need everyone - we have a lot of games to cover.

There is a lot coming in front of us, and the national teams of course - the World Cup - but also all of the cups in England. The Europa League where we are now getting in and, of course, the Premier League."

What is your reaction to Thomas Tuchel’s sacking by Chelsea?

"Of course, I feel sorry, but there's nothing to say about this. It's Chelsea, not Manchester United."

Are you surprised at the sacking?

"It's early in the season, yeah."

Is Scott McTominay’s continued selection a sign that no matter how much a player costs and how big a name they are, if they perform well for you, they stay in the team?

"You can see it like that. When a team is acting well, when players are acting well, I think we have more than 11 starting XI players and then you stay in that's clear. The team is improving, it's getting better, but, on the other hand, for players who are not now in the team, we know they can, at any moment, they can come in and they will do the job.

Scott McTominay against Arsenal. (Alamy)
Scott McTominay against Arsenal. (Alamy)

And they can maybe even do it better than the players who are in but you'll never know. I know that you need more than 11 players to get successful and I know we have a really good bench in this moment and also, when they come on, they really contribute to the success we have now.

That is also what we expect but I know also that the players on the bench, they will have their games as a starting-XI player."

What has changed in Marcus Rashford since you joined? What have you said to him to spark this upturn in form?

"Once again, it is difficult for me to talk about the past. but what I see - I see a happy Marcus Rashford and I see some phases in his game that we could improve. And we worked really hard in the last two-and-a-half months with him on different aspects.

He likes it and he wants to transfer it to the pitch, and that is what you see in this moment. It started with happiness.

He is coming here every day, he really enjoys it, he's really smiling. He has a really positive vibe and, if you put all of those things together with the way of play and you want to transfer and improve different aspects of your game and you are happy, you will have more contribution to the team, to the performance, to the result, and also to your development."

Is Cristiano Ronaldo ready to start now?

"He started the game against Brentford."

But then not since...

"But then not since, but he is ready to start, yeah."

Given Ronaldo’s age and your demands on that position, is it possible for him to be a starting centre-forward for the majority of the season?

"Of course."

 Would you like to tie Marcus Rashford down to a new contract for the future, considering his current contract expires soon?

"Definitely."

And are talks ongoing for this contract?

"I don't think he is out of contract, I think United control the situation."

Featured Image Credit: Manchester United

Topics: Manchester United, Erik Ten Hag, Real Sociedad, Europa League

Dylan Penketh
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