Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag spoke to the media ahead of the game against West Ham on Sunday, less than a day after he saw his side win by three goals to nil against Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League.
Ten Hag was questioned on a number of issues including player returns, his plans for the game on Sunday and even the transfer window.
One player that came to the fore during the manager’s presser was Cristiano Ronaldo. On what Ronaldo can offer going ahead with regard to goals, Ten Hag said that it was up to the 37-year-old to determine just how many he wants to put in the back of the net.
He backed the striker to kick on after he bagged a goal against Sheriff. Ten Hag was quizzed on whether the number 7 has a fight on his hands to get back into the team.
To this, the Dutch boss replied, “Yeah [Ronaldo must force himself into the team], I know that some see it like this, but I don’t have a Europe team and I don’t have a Premier League team. It’s about, I look to the opponent [and see] what we need against that opponent.
He refused to be dragged into whether Ronaldo would start against David Moyes’ team but assured fans he had a plan A, B and C for almost every scenario. Ten Hag said that Ronaldo can play with Marcus Rashford and that both players can thrive off each other.
The former Ajax coach was cross-examined on Donny van de Beek and what the Netherlands international could bring to the side. “Yeah, he was long out, so I was happy to give him some minutes because you need to get in the right form. But he’ll have to work himself back.”
“When you analyse the season so far, then if he was available then he should get his chance. Because we need goals and I know Donny is really good in the position to score goals.”
Something that will disappoint fans from the media briefing ahead of Sunday’s game is that Anthony Martial as per Ten Hag suffered another injury setback and is in a race against time to play for the club before the World Cup.
This led to the 52-year-old being asked whether he would look to the January transfer window for a solution in the striker position. On this, he remarked that it was not the time to talk about acquisitions and that he was satisfied with his options.
Ten Hag relayed that his players had learned from the Manchester City debacle and this was the reason why his team was on a current winning streak.
Hopefully, the Red Devils extend this run with a win against a resilient West Ham side fresh off a Premier League triumph against Bournemouth.
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