Sunday, May 26, 2024
HomePremier LeagueTen Hag 'won't gamble' with fitness of Man United stars

Ten Hag ‘won’t gamble’ with fitness of Man United stars

Erik ten Hag has said he will not gamble with the fitness of his Manchester United players, ahead of the Premier League run-in and an upcoming FA Cup final.

The Red Devils have been hamstrung by fitness issues this season, though have a number of senior stars edging closer to first-team returns.

Lisandro Martinez has returned to training and Ten Hag revealed the defender is desperate to feature against Arsenal on Sunday, but insists he will not risk further setbacks after losing Mason Mount to another issue this week.

 

“Some players, they are really fighting to be available and that is so amazing. They all try. They are all desperate to play,” Ten Hag said at his pre-match press conference.

“Yesterday Licha came to me and he wanted to play on Sunday against Arsenal but he is not ready yet. He needs a little bit more time to go through the process. But he is so desperate and there are more: Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof. Luke Shaw had a setback in his process as well, but there is still a hope and he will fight to be available for the final.”

United face Arsenal, Newcastle and Brighton before the end of the Premier League campaign as the club look to secure a place in Europe for next season, before taking on Manchester City in the FA Cup final on May 25.

Ten Hag has insisted he will not gamble on the fitness of returning players and bemoaned his side’s back luck with injuries this season.

“I will never gamble with a player. Never. It is about them, about their futures. That is the most important. About their careers. I have to take responsibility for it and of course, the club is the most important. But the safety of the player, the health of the player, is also always a high level [of importance].”

 

On his side’s issues this season, he added: “I think they [the owners] have common sense and then see when you have 32 different backlines. When you have eight centre-backs, you use eight centre-backs. They see when you use 13 partnerships in centre-half, when you don’t have a left full-back when we have so many injuries.

“They know it will have a negative impact on results. And still, we are fighting and it is huge, the FA Cup final. We are very happy to be there and it can still be a highlight for this season. Of course, we are not happy, but we know the reasons why we are underperforming in the league now, that is because of the injuries.

“I am a realistic person and I see this when I make this analysis. No team will perform when you have so many injuries in key areas.”

Read – Six talking points ahead of the Premier League weekend

See more – Six of the most improved Premier League players of 2023/24

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