'Winner' Casemiro backed on the big stage

Friday 19 April 2024 13:57

Erik ten Hag has backed Casemiro to deliver on the big stage for Manchester United again, when the Reds take on Coventry City in Sunday's Emirates FA Cup semi-final.

The experienced Brazil international has had to contend with criticism of late, but helped Ten Hag's team reach this stage of the competition, particularly with his late headed winner at Nottingham Forest in round five.

Of course, the midfielder also opened the scoring in the 2-0 victory over Newcastle United at Wembley, as we lifted the Carabao Cup to enjoy one of the highlights of recent times at the club.

He missed out on other appearance at the national stadium when forced out of the Brazil squad before their recent friendly with England and Ten Hag admits injury issues have hampered the 32-year-old this term.

Part one: Press conference v Coventry Video

Part one: Press conference v Coventry

Press conference part one | The boss was asked about our squad, Garnacho, Casemiro, FA Cup replays, Sancho and more…

However, his pedigree, quality and thirst for winning silverware should ensure the no.18 is a key figure against the Sky Blues this weekend.

Reflecting on that performance against Newcastle last season, Ten Hag said: "I think that game, not only that game, but also how he achieved the Champions League [with Real Madrid], he was such an important factor. But on that day, he makes a difference with his header, of course, and also in reading the game and how he controlled the game."

Casemiro's vast knowledge and personality mark him out as somebody the manager will continue to rely upon, as the stakes increase.

"I think we needed a [number] six [defensive midfielder] when I arrived here and, last season, Casemiro was fantastic," Erik said at his press conference. "I don't think he ever scored so many goals as well.

"But as a six, as a holding midfielder, as a strategist, he was so important for the team.

"This season, he struggled with some bad injuries," continued the boss. "He never had this in his career. But I know he is such a winner. See his career. All his career, he always won.

"Everywhere where he was, there will be success and I trust he will give us also the success. And I know he needs games and he will be better.

"I'm very confident about him, he's a fighter, that's why he won the big trophies. He's a personality and he's a very important player for us and, as I say, he will give us success."