Every word of Erik ten Hag's explosive Man United press conference - critics slammed, Antony defence and more

Erik ten Hag hit back at Manchester United's critics on Tuesday lunchtime. -Credit:Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images.
Erik ten Hag hit back at Manchester United's critics on Tuesday lunchtime. -Credit:Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images.

Erik ten Hag came out fighting at his pre-Sheffield United press conference on Tuesday amid mounting pressure on his position as Manchester United manager.

The United boss hit out at the media, describing the reaction to Sunday's FA Cup semi-final victory over Coventry City as "embarrassing" and "a disgrace". United progressed to their second consecutive FA Cup final via a penalty shootout after squandering a three-goal lead against the Championship club.

United capitulated within the final 25 minutes of regulation time, meaning the contest went to extra-time. Coventry thought they had won it in the dying seconds of the additional 30 minutes, only for VAR to spot an offside in the build-up to Victor Torp's effort.

READ MORE: United vs City FA Cup final kick-off time confirmed

READ MORE: Coventry players staggered by Marcus Rashford's poor performance for United in FA Cup semi-final

Despite getting over the line and setting up a second consecutive FA Cup final with Manchester City, United's victory was incredibly hollow, such was the way they limped over the line. Celebrations among the fans and most players were muted after Rasmus Hojlund dispatched the decisive penalty.

Nevertheless, Ten Hag was not impressed by the reaction from the media and the outside world, cutting loose in his latest media briefing on Tuesday. Below, MEN Sport brings you a full transcript of everything the Dutchman had to say.

Ten Hag transcript:

After walking into the room, some members of the assembled media said "good afternoon" to the Dutchman, who corrected them by saying "good morning". The press conference started at 11.45am.

"Sharp. I notice not everyone is sharp here," Ten Hag said.

When asked who is not sharp, he said: "Oh, the majority I would say."

The first question put to Ten Hag was whether he believed the response to United's semi-final triumph over Coventry was fair.

Ten Hag said: "No. Absolutely not. You made enough and one the question: 'is it embarrassing?' No, the reaction from you was embarrassing. It is the comments.

"Top football is about results, we made it to a final and we deserved it not only by this game but also the other games. We lost control for 20 minutes, we also had bad luck, 3-2, 3-3. We were very lucky in the end, clear. Penalties was very good and we made it to the final.

Erik ten Hag walks off the Wembley pitch after the FA Cup semi-final win.
Erik ten Hag came out fighting at Carrington. -Credit:Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images.

"It is a huge achievement. Twice, in two years is magnificent. For me as a manager, four cup finals in four years. The comments are a disgrace."

The next question was about Jason Wilcox, who joined United as technical director last week.

Ten Hag said: "Very close, we have to form a partnership, very impressive, we are a little behind in the process so we will go and speed up the process. Yes, I met him yesterday (Monday) for the first time, this week we will not have so much time and I know his profile, a lot of experience in youth and one year at Southampton, I am looking forward to our partnership."

The Dutchman was then asked if United are contending with any injury concerns ahead of Wednesday night's clash with Sheffield United.

Ten Hag said: "Yeah. We had a problem with [Alejandro] Garnacho, that's why we took him off during the game but I think he will be fine. [Scott] McTominay we have to assess today, really doubtful. [Marcus] Rashford is also doubtful and there was also an issue with [Bruno] Fernandes with the hand but I think he can make it. We have some doubts going into the game tomorrow."

Ten Hag was asked about United's hopes of securing European qualification.

"Yes, but we have to win every game," he said. "That's what United stands for, that is our approach, go from game to game but we have to qualify for Europe and we have two opportunities in the league and the FA Cup final."

Antony cups his ear and taunts the Coventry City players.
Antony's reaction to Rasmus Hojlund's winning penalty has been slammed. -Credit:Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.

Ten Hag was asked about Antony's decision to cup his ears in front of the Coventry players and Harry Maguire's decision to shake hands with the opposition after Hojlund's winning penalty.

He said: "Did you see the reaction of Harry Maguire? He [Antony] was provocated, that's why this was a reaction of that, you haven't seen the provocation only the reaction. But he should not do it. I have seen Harry Maguire straight after and others, we should acknowledge the performance of Coventry coming to that final and the comeback we are 70 mins totally dominating the game by far and 3-0 must have been the game is closed but the return from their side was very good."

He was quizzed on the lack of focus within the squad.

"I know that, so first of all, the most important thing we can do to put ourselves in a winning position is by good structure and we have seen that on many occasions, we have seen by the first goal and other games but bring the game over the line, some things have to do with mentality, physics, we don't have the tools as well," he said.

"We have a back four and have to make compromises and be really creative, but we can't sub players there as well, what you need is a full squad and you can take your messages from the side, repair things, it's a matter of mentality and some game reading and an opponent takes more risk, we have to improve it, need a full squad to repair that."

Ten Hag was asked about Nottingham Forest's decision to question the integrity of official Stuart Attwell after they were denied three penalties against Everton on Sunday.

The United boss said: "You can't do that. You can agree, you can disagree. The handball for [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka is totally wrong, a mistake but you can't question it. So it's not good for the game and the refereeing we should respect them and there is no respect."