Erik ten Hag insists he retains the backing of the Manchester United board despite the club’s challenging start to the campaign.
United crashed out of European competition in midweek after a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich, a result which came just days after a humbling home loss to Bournemouth in the Premier League. The Red Devils are sixth in the Premier League table, six points adrift of the top four.
This weekend, Ten Hag’s team travel to face league leaders Liverpool at Anfield, the scene of a record-breaking 7-0 defeat last season. Ahead of the game, Ten Hag was asked at his pre-match press conference whether he still felt the backing of the board.
“I feel that and they tell me that. Actually, that’s fine and ok, but I am focussed on the process, on how to make the team play better and how to make individuals play better. That is my concern and all I am doing – focussing on the team.”
Ten Hag’s team are preparing for a hostile atmosphere against their fierce rivals this weekend, and the Dutchman is confident his team can handle the demands. The 53-year-old dismissed suggestions his squad were fearful, following their seven-goal thrashing last season.
“We have talked about this issue many times over the past few weeks. These players have proved they can deal with that. On Sunday, it is our next challenge. We have to show we can do it repeatedly and in a consistent way.
“I haven’t seen [that since] last season the players were scared. It was a bad experience, but you start again on nil. Last year, in the first half, we were very decent but got hammered just after half time and we collapsed.
“It is a different team [now], with different players. We won’t ignore it, but I am confident my players will go there and fight from the start to the end.”