Erik ten Hag responds to Ruud van Nistelrooy comment on the Dutch gem

Cody Gakpo, who scored three goals for the Netherlands at the World Cup, is set to leave PSV Eindhoven next year.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag dismissed comments made by PSV Eindhoven counterpart Ruud van Nistelrooy about Cody Gakpo’s future.

PSV forward Gakpo, 23, scored three times for the Netherlands in the World Cup. United legend Van Nistelrooy admitted this week that “there comes a time when you can’t sɑy no” to Gakpo’s interest.

Ten Hag addressed the speculation surrounding Gakpo in an interview with British journalists in Spain two weeks ago, but an inattentive reporter tried to get more information and was ignored.

“There were a lot of good players in the World Cup,” said Ten Hag. “He (Van Nistelrooy) has said that about a lot of players.”

United held informal talks about Gakpo during the summer because there was uncertainty about a deal for prime attacking target Antony, but United eventually signed the Brazilian from Ajax for £85.51 million.

Nottingham Forest travel to Old Trafford for the first time in 23 years on Tuesday for United’s first Premier League game in 44 days, with Ten Hag’s side fifth and three points off a Champions League spot with a game in hand.

Qualifying for the Champions League is the minimum goal for Ten Hag’s first season, and if United fails to do so, it will be the first time since 1992 that they have spent two consecutive seasons outside the competition.

“We are aware that the competition is tough, but it only applies to the seven or eight clubs vying for the top four,” Ten Hag stressed. “It is fantastic for anyone who follows the Premier League because it is exciting for them. To earn points, you must figҺt in each duel. I’m looking at how we’re doing in the process.

“Of course, we must get the results, but if the process is correct and we are making progress, I believe we have a good opportunity and a good chance of making the top four. I understand the pressure. But it’s also clear that the manager of Chelsea or Newcastle United, clubs that have invested heavily in their squads, is under a lot of pressure to qualify for the Champions League.

“You wish to be among the top four. We want to finish in the top four and compete for trophies. That is our stated goal.”

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