Ten Hag jokes he will consult Van Persie if United draw Feyenoord

‘If we draw Feyenoord, I know who to go to for all the information!’: Erik ten Hag jokes that he will consult Robin van Persie if Manchester United get the Dutch league leaders in Friday’s Europa League last-16 draw

  • Manchester United defeated Barcelona 2-1 (4-3 agg) to reach the last-16
  • Goals from Fred and Antony at boisterous Old Trafford saw them advance
  • Erik ten Hag joked with compatriot that he will use him if they draw Dutch giants  

Erik ten Hag has joked that he will consult Robin van Persie should Manchester United get Feyenoord in Friday’s Europa League last-16 draw.

United defeated Barcelona 2-1 (4-3 agg) on Thursday night to advance past the play-off stage and into the tournament knockout stage proper, thanks to Fred and Antony’s second-half strikes. 

Barcelona had led at the break through Robert Lewandowski’s penalty. 

Clearly in a jovial mood during his post-match interview pitch-side with BT Sport, Ten Hag joked with compatriot Van Persie about the prospect of drawing Feyenoord. The former Arsenal and United striker began his career with the Dutch side and is now a youth coach at the club.

‘I think Erik wants to play against anyone [in the next round], except one team,’ Van Persie joked.

Fellow Dutchman Erik ten Hag and Robin van Persie shared a joke about Manchester United’s potential last-16 opponents

Antony’s goal ensured United emerged through the play-offs into the knockout rounds proper

Immediately realising who Van Persie was referencing, Ten Hag made a pointed jab with his microphone, before laughing at the joke. 

He then added: ‘If we draw Feyenoord, I know who to go to for all the information!’

‘I hope so,’ Van Persie added.

A Rotterdam native, Van Persie began his career with Feyenoord before leaving for Arsenal in 2004. 

Van Persie spent eight years with the Gunners before leaving for United under acrimonious circumstances in 2012, citing his desire to win football’s biggest prizes. He won the Premier League in his first season with the club.

Meanwhile, Ten Hag admitted that the team have come on leaps and bounds in terms of their resilience this season.

The beginning of his reign was marked by two difficult losses, at home to Brighton and then away at Brentford, cited as a real nadir of the post-Ferguson era. 

Ten Hag praised the personalities within his team as being decisive in the club’s turnaround

Raphael Varane – singled out by his manager – has formed an impressive pairing with Lisandro Martinez

Put to him by Owen Hargreaves that his side were now able to cope with adversity in a way they weren’t previously, Ten Hag nodded and pointed to the ‘personalities’ within his squad as being reason for that. 

‘Yeah, I think we have some great personalities in the team, like Rapha (Raphael Varane) and Licha Martinez. They come forward.

‘I said before, Antony or Garnacho, they don’t fear anybody, we have more – Bruno also, Casemiro. We have some players and great personalities and even when you get setbacks, they move on. They carry on and they are resilient. They want to get the result and if you believe in that, even when you concede a cheap penalty, you have to go on. 

‘You can turnaround this game but you have to put the effort in and when you win a game like this, after being 1-0 down, this is a good way to motivate for the season.’ 

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