Ten Hag: I have tough decisions to make

Saturday 25 May 2024 07:00

Erik ten Hag has admitted selecting his matchday squad for Manchester United's Emirates FA Cup final with rivals City is going to be difficult.

Describing it as "luxury problems", after a season when injuries have hampered the Reds' progress, players are returning in order to force themselves into the frame for the 15:00 BST kick-off at Wembley.

United can win the trophy for the 13th time, prevent City doing the Double, avenge last term's final defeat and qualify for the Europa League, if victory is achieved.

The stakes are high and it is a question of Ten Hag plotting how to upset Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions.

Cup final Q&A: Man City v United Video

Cup final Q&A: Man City v United

PRE-MATCH Q&A: Erik ten Hag talks tough calls, our deserving fans and the FA Cup final...

Victor Lindelof, Mason Mount and Anthony Martial have all trained this week to promote their claims for inclusion, while Raphael Varane came on in the 2-0 win at Brighton & Hove Albion on the final day after his lay-off. Marcus Rashford is another who was introduced on the south coast and the only three men ruled out are defenders Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia and Luke Shaw.

It is a time for big calls for the boss. Does he opt for Lisandro Martinez and Varane in defence, despite their lack of playing time recently, and ensure Casemiro reverts to midfield? Does he play with a 'false nine' or recall Rasmus Hojlund, who looks back to his best? Is there a place for Amad after his exciting form?

All will be revealed at 14:00 BST on Saturday and, speaking to club media, Ten Hag feels that even selecting who makes the bench will not be easy.

When asked if anyone was close to coming back, Erik said: “That is every time, the returning question, this season. But, yeah, we have some good news. Apart from Harry Maguire, I think everyone is injury-free and has returned in team training.

"So we could give Licha Martinez the last games, and game minutes for Rapha Varane. We gave him game minutes. Victor Lindelof, we couldn't, but he returned in training as well.

"Anthony Martial, we didn't give him game minutes, but also he is in training. So we have options, and I almost want to say I have luxury problems, but I have some choices to make. But also it's about the squad and it's about, definitely on Saturday, the bench and the players are ready to come in, to do the job and to contribute.

Part two: Cup final press conference Video

Part two: Cup final press conference

Press conference | Erik discusses FA Cup final motivations, returning Reds and a score to settle with Manchester City...

“It's as, I say, I have luxury problems to even do a line-up, probably even for the bench," he added. "So yeah, there are some tough decisions to make."

City, meanwhile, look set to have a clean bill of health, aside from Ederson, who is out with a fractured eye socket. Stefan Ortega is set to start in goal, as he did in last year's final.