Erik ten Hag is clear Manchester United have to remain cool-headed to handle the hostile atmosphere at Galatasaray in Wednesday’s crucial Champions League group game.
Ten Hag’s side are bottom of Group A on three points, one behind the Turkish champions and second-placed Copenhagen, with the leaders, Bayern Munich, on 12.
In 1993 Sir Alex Ferguson’s United drew at Galatasaray amid a feverish atmosphere at the club’s former Ali Sami Yen Stadium, after famously being greeted with a “Welcome to Hell” banner at the airport in Istanbul. In 2012 Ferguson’s team lost 1-0 there, in a dead group game for United.
“You have to stay calm in your head and don’t get too emotional – control emotion, don’t give them anything,” Ten Hag said. “The referee as well, don’t give them a moment they can take, so you have to stay away from such moments.
“You have to make it your game. It is not that important how the opponent is playing, it is how you are playing. We will make a good plan and the players, they have to decide [take responsibility].”
Ten Hag was reminded of United’s record against Galatasaray. “It is history,” he said. “Manchester United has a great history – we [our side] have to make our own.”
Bruno Fernandes concurred. “When you are a kid you want to play in this kind of atmosphere,” the captain said. “You know that Galatasaray away is going to be great, there is going to be an amazing atmosphere. As a player I love playing this kind of game in these kinds of stadiums because it’s a big boost for you. I know it’s going to be against you. We’re pretty sure that our away fans will really give us something too.”
Ten Hag would have no concern about fielding Kobbie Mainoo after the 18-year-old made his first Premier League start in Sunday’s win at Everton. “If players are good enough, they are old enough,” the manager said.
Rasmus Højlund and Antony trained on Tuesday, the No 9 and winger having recovered from injury, and Ten Hag said they were in the squad. With Marcus Rashford suspended Højlund’s availability is a particular boost given he is the competition’s joint-top scorer with five goals.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of 25% of United may now become official next week at the earliest.