Ten Hag gives blunt reaction to Man Utd being drawn with Sevilla in Europa League – ‘I don’t look forward’

Erik ten Hag of Man Utd

Erik ten Hag has admitted he is wary of how strong Sevilla can be in the Europa League after Man Utd were drawn against them for the quarter-finals.

After beating Barcelona in the knockout play-off round and Real Betis in the round of 16, Man Utd are once again up against a La Liga side in the Europa League. Friday’s draw for the last eight paired them with Sevilla.

Ten Hag has just under a month to prepare his players for the tie. The first leg will take place on April 13 before the return fixture a week later.

Although Sevilla have struggled in La Liga this season and are actually in danger of relegation, they have a strong record in the UEFA Cup or Europa League. In fact, they have won the competition more times than any other club.

Therefore, Man Utd may still have their work cut out to reach the next round, where the winners of the tie between Juventus and Sporting CP would be waiting.

Shortly after the draw was conducted, Ten Hag underwent his press duties ahead of Man Utd’s FA Cup quarter-final against Fulham on Sunday.

During the media conference, which also took place after a brief meeting with Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is bidding for ownership of the club, Ten Hag explained why he can’t “look forward” to coming up against a side like Sevilla.

He said: “As you say, a very good record we have to be aware of it. It is going to be tough, they are very experienced in the Europa League, won it so many times so I don’t know the team in detail but for me the most important is football and I don’t look forward to Seville.

“First we have international break and then three Premier League games so there is much time to focus on that so definitely so all the opponents are coming to this stage of Europa League they are strong and you have to play your best football if you want to go through.”

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Ten Hag highlights Rashford development

Man Utd confirmed their place in the quarter-finals on Thursday when they won the second leg of their last-16 tie with Real Betis 1-0. Marcus Rashford’s goal secured a 5-1 aggregate win.

Rashford now has 27 goals to his name in all competitions this season.

Acknowledging his growth, Ten Hag said: “He progressed during the season.

“He was not in the best shape when he started the season but the way of playing gives him a base and he brings his skills in and his attitude and mentality and that is bringing in a lot of progress and gives the team a lot of joy and gives him a lot of goals and us a lot of wins.”

Ten Hag pointed to the work of Benni McCarthy on the coaching staff, among others, as a key factor in bringing the best out of Rashford.

The manager continued: “I think the most important of course the way of play that gives him base and structure and the way of play is in his favour. I knew his skills.

“You also bring staff around who can make him better and make him progress and he can get motivated from. I thought we needed one of the staff who was specific for strikers and Benni is doing a good job.

“But don’t forget others in the staff because it is about teamwork. The staff is about balance. It is not only about Benni McCarthy. All have specific jobs in out squad, we work together, it’s good vibe and they challenge each other and it is the total package and it is not about one person.”

Ten Hag concluded that there was no news yet about a contract renewal for Rashford.

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