Erik ten Hag’s press conference with fans | Every word

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Steve Baxter, Atlanta | The turnaround this season is obvious and congratulations for that. With respect to your management style and philosophy, is there anything in particular you would say has contributed to that turnaround?

“For what I contributed? Me personally? I have a feeling that we are in the right direction and I’m quite impatient. I want to be straight and to win all the games and be on top of the league, but I know that is not a reality. The process takes time, but when we are not there – where we should have been – then something is wrong. In my leadership, I have to set the standards. I think every day I live the highest standards and that is what I also demand from the people around me. I think that’s the only way to get back there, where we have to be.”

Kallum Nolan & Daniel Moore, Middleton | Nice to meet you, Erik. Can I start by thanking you for instilling a proper fighting spirit back in our club? I think I speak for everyone here when I say that we really appreciate the work that you’ve done over the past four or five months. With the World Cup coming up, how do you expect to manage the players that aren’t actually going to the World Cup? Will any of them get a break and what do you expect to get out of the friendlies in Spain that are coming up next month?

“First of all, I want to emphasise, if you are talking about the spirit: one thing that I notice here, when you see the history, Manchester United in their history won a lot of trophies, a lot of titles. It was always by team spirit and fighting spirit. Manchester United also had fabulous offensive players, who I know were really the most creative and really recognisable players who fans could identify with. After all, it’s the team spirit and the team fighting that was the base that is in the culture of Manchester United. That is one of the things I wanted to bring back and I think we are going in the right direction. Sometimes you have a setback like Sunday and we are definitely not happy with the performance. I feel responsible. When I see my team on Sunday, that is not Manchester United. I know they are not robots but still we have to demand it, that they bring it every game on the pitch, as often as possible. That has to be really often, it has to be. When we now go into the World Cup, to your question, we have a lot of players that are going to the World Cup and we are happy with that, as it means we have top-class players. They go in for their nations, in different styles and different systems. They will play their games and hopefully most will be on the pitch as that guarantees they will keep fit. When you are not playing, I am a little bit concerned about them. For the ones that stay behind – and there are not a lot – it gives us the opportunity, first of all, to reflect on the last period and to make new plans, not only on how we are going in the right direction but how we can improve. It can also give us the opportunity… we talk about young players, we will bring them in so that they can present themselves to us. They get an opportunity, together with the ones that stay behind. We have some important players for us, for next year. They have to contribute to the success of us. So it’s a combination of keeping the seniors who have to contribute for us, they have to keep fit. They need games, they need training. We have a proper programme for them and they have a short time for relaxation, because after we return, around Christmas, we will go through to the end of May. So they will have a short period of relaxation off but then we will go to a training camp to Cadiz, we will play games, we will come back and play another game – hopefully we win tomorrow and have that next round of the Carabao Cup and then we have to be ready for the season to restart. It depends on how the players come back – and we have a plan for them – it depends on how far they come in the World Cup, when they return into training. That’s the idea.”

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