Erik ten Hag says Frenkie de Jong “brings a lot of the fascination”.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Europa League playoff, the manager said of his former protege:
“He’s a fantastic player, playing out from the back, he always has time.
“Frenkie is an incredible player and for every club in the whole world he will strengthen the squad because he has a unique quality. If you can get him in the squad, your team will be stronger.”
Ten Hag also confirmed the absences of Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay and Antony through injury and Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer through suspension.
He said “it’s looks good” for all three to be ready for the Carabao Cup final on February 26th.
“In the end of the week Scott can play,” he said.
“After the weekend we hope Antony will also join.” (Note, it was not made clear whether he meant Antony or Anthony Martial.)
Asked about Barcelona’s defensive capabilities, Ten Hag remarked:
“It’s clear when you see the stats of Barcelona, it’s impressive.
“They defend well but their biggest skill is that they have so many possession. Johann Cruyff said if you have the ball and they don’t have the ball, then they can’t score.”
Luke Shaw was also taking part in the press conference.
Shaw said he did not know what position he would be playing in tomorrow’s game.
“To be honest, I’m not too sure yet,” he said.
“We’ll have to wait until tomorrow when he [Ten Hag] says the team.”
On his form, Shaw said “We’ve learned from that [the first two games of the season] and grown as a team and I think it’s showing in our performances. The manager has been really good, he’s shown a lot of trust in me and I want to repay that with my performances.”
Shaw also joked about Casemiro. “We always say to him, he likes to give the ball away so he can go and win it back”, he chuckled.
All set for the game tomorrow 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/ce1Lanw1VG
— Bruno Fernandes (@B_Fernandes8) February 15, 2023
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