Ten Hag: We've been hurt by injuries

Friday 22 December 2023 22:30

Erik ten Hag is convinced Manchester United will be stronger when our absentees return, after being affected by key injuries during the first half of the season.

The boss bemoaned the loss of Casemiro's character and influence in midfield, issues at centre-back, plus the fact that Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia, and also Antony and Amad, were sidelined, causing problems with both the left-back and right-wing positions.

However, there is a belief that United will benefit from more competition when the squad is back in good shape, with some of the missing Reds expected back next month.

Part two: Press conference v West Ham Video

Part two: Press conference v West Ham

Press conference part two | Watch the second section of Ten Hag's media briefing, ahead of Saturday's trip to London...

"Sometimes, it's also some bad luck," Erik conceded, in the second part of his press conference to preview Saturday's lunchtime clash at West Ham United (12:30 GMT).

"I think what has definitely hurt [us] was we had, in crucial positions, we had the problems, like now, we are [in] with centre-backs. And so many centre-backs, not only one, there are more injured or are ill.

"Left full-back, we struggled for a long time in the season because both were injured in Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia. Then, on the right wing, we had our problems, with the problems around Antony we had there, but also [Amad] Diallo, in the same moment, injured.

"So we struggled a lot in such key positions. Don't forget, Casemiro is a huge impact player for us and he is now, over a long period, not available.

"You have to deal with that," he insisted. "But everyone understands when you have such key players who are not available, it will have a negative effect on results. Still, we are in a place where we can change this story, change this season. I am confident, when the players are back, we will have a good and strong squad.

"Liverpool [last weekend] were top of the league so we were competitive with them. We were also competitive with Arsenal at the start of the season. This team, this squad, is strong when everyone is on board and we can beat anyone."

As Ten Hag mentioned, it seems the Reds must take on West Ham this weekend without Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Malacia and Lisandro Martinez, in addition to the suspended Diogo Dalot, which will necessitate some deep thought on the back-four selection.