Ten Hag explains team selection against Villa
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has provided the reasoning behind his starting XI, ahead of our Carabao Cup tie against Aston Villa this evening.
The boss has opted to make seven changes for our second meeting with Villa in four days, with Martin Dubvraka, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia, Scott McTominay, Fred, Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial all coming into the side.
Shola Shoretire and Facundo Pellistri also make the bench, like they did in the West Midlands at the weekend, with both young Reds hoping to potentially make an impact at the Theatre of Dreams.
Cristiano Ronaldo misses out due to illness, with Ten Hag shedding further light on our no.7's omission from the matchday squad, with Jadon Sancho and Antony still out.
“Ilness,” confirmed the boss, when asked about Ronaldo’s absence. “Not available. It’s difficult to say how he recovers but I’m not worried.”
Martial also comes into the starting XI for the first time in a competitive Old Trafford game since scoring in a 1-1 draw with Everton on 2 October 2021, with the Frenchman leading the line for the Reds in attack.
“I am happy he is there [Martial],'' Ten Hag told Sky Sports. ''He had a good pre-season and then he dropped out, he fights his way back but drops out.
''Until now, it’s been a disappointing season for him, and for us as well, as he had a really good pre-season. He fitted well into the style of football for us and I hope he can now continue to stay fit and more available in the next year.”
Goalkeeper Martin Dubvraka also comes into the team for his first start for the club, after making the temporary switch from Newcastle United back in September.
Ten Hag provided further reasoning behind the Slovakian's inclusion, stating: “It’s clear it’s his [Dubravka’s] opportunity to show that, we believe in that, otherwise we didn’t get him from Newcastle.
''He has already provide himself in the Premier League and I’m sure he will do it but, of course, it’s an opportunity to show it.”
United: Dubravka; Dalot, Maguire (c), Lindelof, Malacia; McTominay, Fred; Fernandes, van de Beek, Rashford; Martial.
Substitutes: De Gea, Martinez, Shaw, Casemiro, Eriksen, Pellistri, Elanga, Garnacho, Shoretire.
Villa: Olsen; Augustinsson, Konsa, Chambers, Young; Luiz, McGinn, Kamara; Ramsey, Ings, Watkins.
Substitutes: Martinez, Cash, Digne, Mings, Buendia, Nakamba, Sanson, Archer, Bailey.