International Soccer

‘You can’t prevent it’ – Erik ten Hag responds to criticism of Man Utd injury record

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has pointed the finger for this season’s regular injury problems at the “overload” in the schedule, suggesting the club “can’t prevent it”.

Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof were both sidelined for at least a month this week due to calf and hamstring muscle injuries respectively. For Martinez, it is a third absence of the season, while Mason Mount, Casemiro, Luke Shaw, Rasmus Hojlund, Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and others have all had problems of varying severity at different points of the campaign.

“You can’t prevent it and you also see it is not only us,” Ten Hag said to the press on Wednesday.

“The standards that the Premier League, in terms of intensity, are so high and the overload into the schedule, also with international football, is so huge. We have all internationals in our squad and you see it is not only us. [Manchester] City has problems, Liverpool has problems, Newcastle has problems, there are many other teams.

“In this moment, especially the defending department [is struggling]. But, in midfield and in the frontline, the players are available.”

Lindelof suffered his injury in last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Brentford. Martinez replaced the Swede in that game for his first appearance since picking up a knee problem in February and succumbing to his calf strain in training a few days later. Raphael Varane came off at half-time against the Bees as a precaution, while Jonny Evans was unavailable altogether. Maguire had earlier been forced to withdraw from England’s squad midway through the international break.

Lisandro Martinez

Lisandro Martinez has been ruled out for the third time this season / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

Fortunately for Ten Hag, Maguire came through the second half against Brentford unscathed – his 200th appearance for the club – while both Varane and Evans have been passed fit to face Chelsea this week.

“No more issues,” Ten Hag said of the current injury situation at his press conference, which came in the wake of Tuesday night’s statement on Martinez and Lindelof.

“In the frontline and in midfield, we are okay. We have options there. In the backline, we have a lack of options but the good thing is, this afternoon, back in training are Rapha Varane and Jonny Evans, and Harry Maguire was already back in training [on Tuesday].”

United have played 42 games in all competitions so far and could play up to ten more across the Premier League and FA Cup, while many players have also been involved in international fixtures all season. It could even have been pushing 60 at club level by the end of the campaign had they progressed, as expected, further in the Carabao Cup and Champions League.

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