The second half of Erik ten Hag‘s pre-match news conference is now available to see ahead of Manchester United’s game against Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday.
Ten Hag’s team is in fantastic form entering into the game, having won impressively against Liverpool, Southampton, and most recently Leicester City.
In the second half of his most recent media briefing, the manager was asked about signing players from the Eredivisie, Lisandro Martinez, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Erik, some players have come from Dutch football into the Premier League and done very well like Luis Suarez or Ruud van Nistelrooy. But there are also a few like Davy Klaassen who have really struggled. What made you convinced that you can sign two or three players from the Dutch league and they will be capable of working in the Premier League?
“Firstly, the players we signed are internationals for their countries. Secondly, they performed really well in the Champions League. And third, when I look at individual skills they are capable of playing high-intensity football.”
Martinez might have gone to Arsenal. Was that an important signing for you, to build your team around a ball-playing center-back?
“Yes. I wanted him [for his] ball playing but also you see his defending capabilities, his toughness, his positioning, his anticipating, the togetherness. I know what he is able [to do], that is the base. He is doing well, but he has to do much better.”
Management in England… sometimes you put an arm around a player, and other players need telling off. This is a new position for Cristiano, being a substitute. Do you think he is the type that responds to you being a friend or you being a teacher?
“Depending on the circumstances, I will sometimes be his friend and sometimes his instructor. But, as we all know, he didn’t have a pre-season, and you can’t play without one. It’s a foundation. Especially in the game we play, the way we play, we play a different type [of football] than last year, so it depends on the demands, cooperation, and demands of certain positions in and out of possession, as well as fitness.”