After Erik ten Hag fielded questions about Jadon Sancho, the club’s future and Andre Onana in the first part of his press conference on Friday, the boss was also asked about a plethora of topics in the second section.
Speaking ahead of our trip to Sheffield United on Saturday (20:00 BST), the boss said he believes that having a fit squad benefits building a rhythm and good routines, as the Reds look to build on the last-gasp win over Brentford before the international break
He also issued an updated on recently absent trio Kobbie Mainoo, Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and praised Marcus Rashford’s goalscoring form for England.
Read everything Erik had to say in the second part of his press conference, and watch the media briefing below…
“I think it’s very positive he scored for England and I think [for] England [it] was a very good performance. I really enjoyed that game, but also I enjoyed the players who were involved from us and you see the qualities and I’m sure, yeah, the form was [in] the last games maybe not that good, but I’m sure I will back them, I trust them, I believe in them and I’m sure they will be back in very good shape and it will be [a] very [big] benefit to our game and to our results. And that will not take long.”
Just back to the injuries. Is there any more news on any of the long term absentees, the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw. Are they any closer to coming back?
“Of course, they are closer. But for instance, Luke Shaw, I don’t expect him back in this block of games. For instance, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, yeah, I don’t think he’s too far away for returning into team training. And so back in the team.”
And what about Kobbie Mainoo as well? Is he any closer as well?
“He is close. He’s already training with us. Not today, but I think next week he will have some minutes in the team so then he can catch up his game minutes. And so yeah, he’s really improving and ready to to get back in the squad for games.”
“So when I got the question [about Onana] and also previously, I will never use that as an excuse. And Andre is not doing as well. He’s not talking about [it]. But of course, when every time you have a different defending line in front of you, it’s not helpful. You don’t get the routines and that’s a problem but you have to deal with it. And that’s a situation that we are in, but it didn’t help for the results. It didn’t help his integration, absolutely.”
On Victor [Lindelof] again, as a manager, what’s the process that you go through with a player in that kind of situation? Do you do you speak to him while he’s abroad? Do you wait until he gets back and talk to him face to face? How do you manage that, to make sure that the players are okay to play in the next game?
“First of all, we have here more people who then take care of the situation. We were directly in contact with him. The club, team management, player care, and I also was involved. I took straight contact with him, how he was or the circumstances. So how he felt. I think that’s most most important always is how are his emotions. And then, yeah, look what you can offer the player, how you can support him as a club, as a manager. And then once he returns, you have the conversation with him. So again, about feelings and how to move on, how to get back. So how to deal with the situation and how we can support him.”
On the game tomorrow, it’s an 8pm start, you’ve got a Champions League game on Tuesday. Do you think that more could be done, perhaps to help English clubs perform in Europe? Because obviously it’s not ideal, is it?
“Well, I think it’s time enough to recover. Yeah I think it’s okay. And that there is time from tomorrow [at] eight to Tuesday [at] eight. There’s enough time to recover and to prepare that game.”