Erik ten Hag has struck a confident tone in an interview with MUTV as his side prepare for a pivotal Champions League match against Galatasaray this evening.
United desperately need three points from their trip to Turkey to salvage any hope of qualifying for the next round of Europe’s premier competition.
They currently languish bottom of their group, though a win tonight, accompanied by Bayern Munich beating FC Copenhagen, would elevate them to second place.
Galatasaray is a notoriously difficult place to go, however. The atmosphere generated in the RAMS Stadium is intense and overwhelming, with the home fans vicious and vitriolic with their voices.
Ten Hag has implored his players to “deal with that environment” and use the atmosphere and pressure as “fuel” to secure a vital win.
The Dutchman told MUTV the only way his team would succeed is if they played as one: “That’s the only way it can go. You have to be together. You have to stick together. You have to get on one page and execute.”
Fresh from a 3-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park – a similarly hostile away ground – United are in good form and even better spirits, compared to the nadir they appeared to be experiencing only a few months ago.
Eighteen points from a possible twenty one makes Ten Hag’s side the most in-form in the Premier League, with United actually one point better off this year in comparison to last season at the same juncture.
Ten Hag praised his squad for their performance against Everton, revealing how united he saw his United team.
“Yeah, I think it was really a team performance from the first whistle, how we took control in that game. Then we had a tough period. We survived it and then second half we were very proactive, very dynamic, very brave and we killed the game.”
Alejandro Garnacho‘s outrageous overhead kick sparked things off, before Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford combined to put the game beyond reach. Ten Hag appeared particularly pleased every member of his starting front three were able to return a goal.
“Of course it gives confidence. When you score such a beautiful goal, that gives a certain vibe. When you win 3-0 and all the strikers score, that gives belief and we have to build on that.”
The Dutch manager will be unable to deploy Rashford tonight as the English forward is unavailable due to suspension from the previous match against FC Copenhagen. Ten Hag welcomes back Rasmus Højlund in Rashford’s place to soften the blow, however.
Ten Hag was effusive in his praise of the 20-year old, who he describes as “magnificent.” The Dutchman was also quick to point out how effective Martial was against Everton, detailing how “its good we have options.”
United’s manager will be reliant on as many as options as he can muster to traverse tonight’s fixture; anything short of three points will be an unmitigated disaster. Good luck Erik.