Ten Hag gives Martinez update

Friday 02 February 2024 13:30

Lisandro Martinez sparked concern during the dramatic 4-3 victory at Wolves, when the central defender was seen having strapping applied to his foot in the dugout at Molineux.

The influential Argentina international was withdrawn in the 86th minute of a typically all-action individual performance in the Black Country.

He marked his first Premier League start since September with one exceptional clearance, a few minutes into in the second half, preventing a header from Max Kilman entering the net, following a free-kick into the box by Pedro Neto.

Lisandro Martinez made one outstanding clearance to keep Wolves at bay.

TV footage showed Licha with an ice-pack on his left foot, in addition to the bandaging, and the fact he has previously been sidelined with metatarsal problems caused some concern he would be doubtful for Sunday's home game against West Ham United.

However, manager Erik ten Hag has appeared to allay those fears, in his press conference previewing the Old Trafford clash this weekend, stressing the move to replace Martinez with Harry Maguire was a precautionary one, and partly tactical too, with Wolves expected to load the box with extra height in the closing stages of the pulsating encounter.

"It was a precaution," admitted the boss. "I took him off because, actually I had to sub Rasmus [Hojlund] because he was dead with all his running! But then we needed an extra header but, also for Licha, I think he is a long way out. We brought Harry on for [an] extra header and Omari Forson for Rasmus."

Ten Hag also stressed he needed to treat Casemiro carefully after his recent comeback, and that we will see the best of the Brazilian when he gets into more of a rhythm.

The midfielder was booked early on and conceded the controversial penalty, when Neto tumbled inside the box, with VAR deciding there was some contact from our no.18, following much deliberation from Stockley Park.

The fact Casemiro was on a yellow card did convince Erik to replace him, but, again, his fitness was a factor.

Ten Hag's team news for Hammers clash


The boss provides a detailed review of the state of his squad, in advance of Sunday's return to Old Trafford action.

"Also, he has to catch up as well," the manager said of the much-decorated 31-year-old. "And Case, I know, the more games he is going to play, the better he will be. But he needs game minutes and that is why he takes most benefit from [that], at the moment. Also, with another foul, maybe he [would] be sent off, so I couldn't take the risk."

The South American pair bring aggression and quality to the side and will hopefully be available for Sunday's fixture with David Moyes's men.

The game kicks off at 14:00 GMT.