Erik Ten Hag has rallied his Manchester United players for tonight’s do-or-die Champions League clash with Bayern Munich, declaring: ‘We can beat anyone.’
United must win their final Group A match against the Germans at Old Trafford and rely on the other game between FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray ending in a draw if they are to advance to the knockout stage.
Bayern are unbeaten in their last 39 group matches stretching back more than six years, but Ten Hag is convinced United can still go through.
‘If we are in the right spirit, then we are able to do it and beat any opponent,’ said the United manager. ‘I never think of a negative scenario, we think positive. We know what to do. We have to win to stay in Europe, it’s about that.
‘We will prepare the team with that feeling, with the belief that we are able to do it. We have shown in the last weeks that when we are at our best we can do it.
Erik ten Hag insists his team can ‘beat anyone’ as they prepare to face Bayern Munich
Unitd need to beat Bayern for a chance of making the last 16 – but the Bavarians haven’t lost in 39 group games
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‘We still we have the opportunity. It’s not in our hands any more, but we want to stay in Europe. We definitely know what to do.’
United’s 3-3 draw with Galatasaray in Istanbul last month kept them at the bottom of the group. Their erratic form since then has brought Premier League wins over Chelsea and Everton, but also damaging defeats by Newcastle and Bournemouth.
Ten Hag knows his team cannot afford another off-night against Bayern.
‘I know this team can perform at really high levels,’ he said. ‘It’s not that we did it three months ago, we did it last week. I know we can do it, when we have the right spirit. It starts with the right attitude. If everyone is ready, we can do it.
‘So that’s my responsibility to prepare a team. I will give everything and I know my players will as well.
‘We only have to show them the clips from Chelsea, and how they can play. If we are all there on one page, stick together and we have a good plan, then we go. As I said, we can beat any opponent.
‘One thing is for sure: when you play Bayern Munich, you have to play your best. But Chelsea also have amazing players and we dominated them, so we can do it against Bayern as well.’
United’s poor form has raised concerns over whether the squad are still committed to Ten Hag’s philosophy, but top scorer Scott McTominay insisted yesterday that they are firmly behind the manager in a way they haven’t always been with some of his predecessors.
‘It is the players’ responsibility, first and foremost, the players know that as well,’ said McTominay. ‘We are at the stage where we have big characters in the dressing room.
‘It is not a case of like some of the other managers where it has been a little bit toxic at times. The boys are firmly behind the manager. That is the way it will stay.’
Bayern manager Thomas Tuchel warned that his team won’t take their foot off the pedal tonight. ‘When you wear the Bayern jersey, you behave like champions. There’s no other way,’ he said. ‘We demand the best from ourselves.’