Could you just update us on the situation with Cristiano Ronaldo at the moment, obviously he played half a game, or half an hour, against Brighton, is he available to start and is there any more certainty around his future?

ETH: So, he had a good training week, I thought he played a little bit longer than half an hour, I would say he now has two half a games. For the starting XI, we will see tomorrow. I, of course, have made my decision but I keep it.

Can I also ask you about Marcus Rashford? There’s a lot that’s been said about him and the link with Paris Saint-Germain today. Where is Marcus, where does he fit in your plans? Obviously, he missed a good chance against Brighton…

ETH: He is really important, you have seen from the first day I’m in, I’ve been really happy with him. Definitely, I don’t want to lose him, he’s in our plans and he will stay at Manchester United.

What have you done this week on the back of the result on Sunday? Because that obviously wasn’t the way you want to start a season or a new time at Manchester United? What have you done to try and rectify that this week?

ETH: What I always do after every game, I analyse the game and what went well, what went wrong and where we can improve, where we have to improve, how we have to train and of course we tell the players and show them where we have to improve to give them the solutions.

What did you feel you learned from that first outing in the Premier League?

ETH: We learned a lot but it’s normal when you start a season, every season in that part is the same. The team get together, you have to get a way of playing, especially when you are new, what we are. You have a new start, you make mistakes. Football is a game of mistakes, so we know we have to improve in many factors. Clear.

In terms of improving the squad further, a lot of speculation remains as to who could possibly come in. Could you bring us up to date with what’s happening with Rabiot, with Frenkie de Jong, are they likely to still happen? How satisfied are you with the support that you get in terms of recruitment at the club so far? 

ETH: I’m happy. I think we’re cooperating really well. I cannot tell about any individuals because I cannot talk about players who are under contract with other clubs.

Just back to the start that you’ve had to the season. We know what pressure comes with being at Manchester United, but do you feel that added pressure after the first result to get up and running at Old Trafford now?

ETH: I know there is always pressure and I have experience of how that is. I know we have to win every game and I know the fans, everyone expects that Man United is winning every game so we have to deal with that. All I can do is to prepare my team as good as I can and I’m focusing on that.

Christian Eriksen is obviously going back to Brentford this weekend. What have you thought of what he’s done so far and how will he feel going back there?

ETH: The last question you have to ask him himself but of course it’s always special when you return to the team you came from, but also he had that experience before, and he knows we have to win and he has to perform well so he has to focus on that.

How hard a game is this for you?

ETH: Every game is hard.

What do you think about Brentford and the way they play under Thomas Frank?

ETH: Really good. I think same as last week, Brighton, they have a team and a coach that have been long together, a good structure, decent football, and it will be tough, but we have to win.

And if Ronaldo is fit, does he play in an ideal world? Does he start in your team or is it a different story to that?

ETH: I gave the answer already.

You say you are cooperating well with the board. Are you on the same page as the board when it comes to individual transfer targets?

ETH: Yes.

We talked about Ronaldo, is there any other updates on team news? What’s the status of Anthony Martial?

ETH: He will not be available and Victor Lindelof as well, not for this weekend.

On the squad as a whole, are you confident that when the window closes on 1 September that you will have a better squad, a more rounded squad than you have at the moment?

ETH: We have to, and I am convinced we will have.

If Cristiano does start, how do you manage a situation with starting a player who doesn’t want to be at the club?

ETH: That’s your assumption. That is not what he is telling me.

He’s telling you he wants to be here?

ETH: I deal with the players I have. We have planned for him this season. We are happy with him. And now we have to fit him in to the team. He has to come to the right fitness levels so he can do the job of what we expect him to do.

And the attempt to get Arnautovic, which the fans reacted badly to, was that a mistake? Would he have added something? He’s 33-years-old. It smacked of a bit of a gamble.

ETH: Also, an assumption. I cannot speak about players who are under contract. When we have news, I will bring it, like we did with Christian Eriksen and Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez, we will announce it.

You said last week that you’re prepared to wait for the right player to come in. For a lot of people outside the club and the fans, Arnautovic was the wrong player to come in. Has the strategy changed because we’re in to the last few weeks of the transfer window so you’re having to make compromises with certain players?

ETH: We have to get the players in who can contribute and not get players in who cannot do it. We have to do it with the squad we have and improve the team.

When you first spoke to the club about potentially coming over and becoming manager, do the club operate in the same way you expected or have you been surprised by the way the club operates in the transfer market?

ETH: We co-operate well, it’s to my satisfaction. And of course it was better to get players in earlier because then you get them earlier in the process. Now we have seen in midfield or offence, when you have one injury it’s a problem, that’s clear.

With Marcus, have you spoken to him about the PSG story?

ETH: Not yet but he knows I love him. He knows I want him to be here, so I will tell him that again.

Have you ever been in this situation before where at the start of the season the squad is still so much in need of being filled?

ETH: Yeh, I have had that experience, yeh.

You mentioned before about United fans expect to win every game. Is that a fair expectation given the situation the club were in last season and the amount of steps you have to take to get to Man City and Liverpool?

ETH: I will not say it’s always but I think Man United stands for trophies and that has to be the standard that everyone has to accept. We cannot lower our standards because we will not get back where we have to be.

I think you were appointed about four months ago and you’ve said since then you want a striker and midfielder, so with less than three weeks left is “disaster” a fair word for the fact you don’t have a striker and midfielder in?

ETH: No. Of course, once again, that would be my preference because we could be starting the process earlier, quite clear. But at the end of the day the season is long and we need to get in the right players.

The season is long, of course, but the time since you’ve been appointed is four months. That’s half a full season. There’s been all this time. Why hasn’t happened? This is Manchester United.

ETH: That is a difficult answer. When you have over one hour! It’s really complicated. What we have done, we are really happy with it, and I think that was a positive point from last week is that Malacia did very well, Christian Eriksen and Martinez did very well in the game against Brighton, so we are happy with that.

You spoke warmly about Marcus a couple of minutes ago. What can he achieve at this club if you get the best out of him and he performs at his best?
ETH: I think he showed already in the short time I’ve been here, in pre-season, what he can do. Also, last week he was twice in the position that he could score. The team with his contribution he was in the right moment and in the right place, and I know, I trust, he will finish in the future.

How do you assess his confidence at the moment? Last season he scored four or five goals. He’s getting in those positions but he’s not taking his chances at the moment.

ETH: In pre-season, he did score.

Do you think there’s a possibility he could be distracted by this? Do you think he should be concentrating on his football at this moment?

ETH: He’s experienced. I think often there’s an interest for player or manager, and this is what we have to deal with. We have to keep focussed on what is most important and the priority is the next game.

With potential signings for United, in years gone by every player would want to play for this club. Now, do you think it’s more of a case that you have to persuade them, particularly without Champions League?

ETH: I don’t know about the past, but once again, we need high standards, we need to keep high standards. So also the profiles of players we want to get in.

It feels like you’ve drawn a line under the Cristiano Ronaldo situation. He’s going to be staying with you, is that correct? Does that help you in terms of what you need from the market?

ETH: Yes, but we already confirmed this in every press conference that he is in our plans. So we plan around him.

In terms of the characters you want to bring in, the players you want to bring in, is character one of the big benefits you want to see in the players you want to sign, when talking about the right players?

ETH: Character is always an issue. It has to be good and fit in to the team.

There’s a perception this week that there’s a degree of panic within the club in terms of the players you’ve been trying to sign. Is there any panic from your point of view?

ETH: When Manchester United is not performing or not winning, it’s normal. I would be more in panic when there wasn’t a panic because we have to win. It’s the demand. Still, panic is not the right word. We have to act.

So something has to be done but you’re still doing it in a measured and controlled way?

ETH: Exactly. We have to think bright and do the right things.




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