Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has insisted his players must control their emotions and “make it their game” when they face Galatasaray in Istanbul on Wednesday evening in a must-win Champions League game.
United travel to the Turkish champions bottom of the group and in need of a victory against Galatasaray. Ten Hag’s team have lost three of their four group games so far and picked up their solitary win against Copenhagen, who are level on points with Galatasaray, one ahead of United, while Bayern Munich are top.
It is a return to the city where, 30 years ago, Sir Alex Ferguson’s United were greeted by a ‘Welcome to Hell’ banner and went on to exit the competition after a goalless draw in a highly-charged atmosphere at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium, Galatasaray’s former home ground.
United have not won or even scored in any of their three previous visits to Galatasaray and will once again face a feverish environment. Ten Hag has, therefore, highlighted the need to keep calm amid the din if his team are to keep their Champions League hopes alive.
“You have to stay calm in you head and don’t get too emotional — control emotion, don’t give them anything,” the United manager 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 but then, at the end of the day, the players have to decide, they have to manage the game.”
Ten Hag was reminded of United’s record against Galatasaray, who won 3-2 at Old Trafford earlier in the group-stage, and replied: “It is history. Manchester United has a great history — we [our side] have to make our own. It’s on us.
“We know we can [win away in Europe] and we are confident. The last games away from home in the league were also very hostile environments. We played very well. We were very calm and composed. We know how to deal with it and I’m sure it will be tomorrow a confident team on the pitch.”
Hojlund and Antony both available
Although United’s injury list remains extensive, Rasmus Hojlund and Antony have recovered from injury and are in the travelling squad. The return of Hojlund, the competition’s joint top-scorer with five goals, is timely as United will be without the suspended Marcus Rashford.
United, who have been in good form in the Premier League of late (winning five of their last six games), registered their most comprehensive win of the season so far at the weekend with a 3-0 victory over Everton.
“No, we don’t have fear [of starting Mainoo again],” Ten Hag said. “If players are good enough, then they are old enough.”