Every word from Erik ten Hag press conference before Galatasaray v Man Utd | 28 November 2023

Just with regards to Bruno giving the penalty to Marcus [Rashford] at Everton, as a manager do you support that? Because you’re 1-0 up, needing a win, it’s great that it went in but if it didn’t, do you just say fair play to Bruno for showing leadership? Or do you sort of think: ‘You’re the penalty taker, you should have taken it’?

[Bruno answers]: “We have a list of penalty takers, and their number in the order of penalty takers – who is going to be the first, second or third. First being myself because in the past few years it has always been me. But when I arrived at the club, Marcus was the penalty taker. He was injured when I arrived so I started taking penalties. He was always respectful on the side, saying ‘you’re doing it now, you’re doing it well, so keep going.’ At moments he had his moment to take the penalty and sometimes we’ve had moments to give the ball to each other. I think it’s not important who takes it, because I think the manager puts a paper out there with the penalty takers and the two names for that game was me and Marcus. So, it’s just about deciding who’s going to take that. It doesn’t have to be always Bruno. It doesn’t have to be always Marcus. But it has to be someone where we are 100 percent sure that the ball is going to go in. We are never 100 percent sure because it’s 50/50 every time. I could have taken the penalty and missed and we will never know. But the thing is that Marcus took it and he scored.”

Erik: “It’s not 50/50 [that they will score]! With them, we are confident, with Rashy and with Bruno, we know they will score. But I want to emphasise I think it’s great leadership, if you understand that your team-mate needs a goal and you have confidence in each other to give the penalty away. But I’m sure Bruno would have made it as well.”

Is that a good example why Bruno is your captain?
“That is one of the examples, yeah.”

I just wanted to ask about Kobbie Mainoo, there’s obviously been a lot of attention on him since his performance against Everton, praise for his performance but even looking longer term and talking about his international future… do you welcome that kind of attention or do you need to calm it down given his is such a fledgling career at the moment?
“We are very pleased with the performance but it’s one performance and you have to do it on a consistent basis. But Kobbie is so mature, he knows that. We are confident he will do it. But first you have to prove [that], you are only as good as your last game.”

But when he’s getting that kind of attention, how do you, Bruno as well, look after a young player in this kind of environment?
“Enjoy it first, but keep the focus on the game, so don’t get distracted from it, that your focus is going to things next to football. It’s about the game. You have to focus on your game, on your performance and get the right levels in. When we observe, if a player is getting distracted and moving away from football, we will tell him. But until that point, we don’t do. I see in training the levels, so I am not concerned in this moment that Kobbie is getting distracted from it.”

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