EPL

Christian Eriksen says Manchester United players expect kneejerk reactions

By Sports Desk August 27, 2023

Christian Eriksen says kneejerk reactions come with the territory of playing for Manchester United as he laughed off the focus on their sluggish start to the season.

Having finished third in the Premier League, won the Carabao Cup and reached the FA Cup final last term, there is intrigue and increased expectations around Erik ten Hag’s second season.

United were fortunate to kick off their campaign with a 1-0 win against Wolves – a poor performance compounded by last weekend’s alarming drop-off after a fine start in the 2-0 defeat at Tottenham.

Saturday was shaping up to be an even more chastening day after Taiwo Awoniyi and Willy Boly put Forest two up within four minutes of kick-off at a stunned Old Trafford.

But United roared back through Eriksen, Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes to secure a 3-2 comeback victory against 10-man Forest, avoiding an intense week of scrutiny ahead of the trip to Arsenal.

Asked how important it was to win given a lot of people have had things to say about United’s start, goalscorer Eriksen said with a smile: “Yeah, this week. Maybe next week they’ll say something else and then the week after they’ll change their mind again.

“It’s how football goes and definitely here.

“I think everybody knows that if you lose one game everything is changed, everything is the worst thing that can happen.

“And if you win, it’s ‘oh, it’s normal’, so, yeah, it’s just how it is at this club and we expect that as players.

“Obviously we try to do our best to win every game, none of us like losing and we try to do it in the best possible way.”

Eriksen, unsurprisingly given his career and experiences, cares little for the background noise surrounding United, but the expectation at the club can weigh heavily on some.

Denmark team-mate Rasmus Hojlund is among those that will be under the spotlight this season having been brought in to solve their number nine issue.

Signed for a £64million fee that could rise to £72million, the talented 20-year-old striker has yet to make his debut due to a back complaint but could feature for the first time at Arsenal.

“He’s a guy who holds his ground,” Eriksen told club media. “He doesn’t back down from anything.

“He’s really a front-foot guy, who is aggressive and really attack-minded.

“But, at the same time, a nice guy outside of football.

“I will definitely (pass on my experience of English football) but he will definitely see it for himself, that the Premier League is different compared to any other league he’s been at before.

“So, he’s going to have to adapt, but I’m sure he will adapt quickly.”

Hojlund is highly unlikely to be United’s final arrival before Friday’s transfer deadline, just as Forest are expected to be active before the window closes.

There will also be talk about departures, with homegrown Wales international Brennan Johnson subject of interest from Chelsea, Tottenham and Brentford.

“Brennan’s, for me, a top young player,” manager Steve Cooper said. “He had some great moments in the first half, showed his real quality on a big stage and there’s naturally going to be talk and interest, speculation, whatever it may be.

“My focus is just on him day to day and helping him get ready for the next game, try to get the best out of him in training and the analysis side.

“Until I get told something will be different with any of the players, that is what we will do, so it’s not something I’ve really thought about, to be honest.”

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