Ten Hag explains United's starting XI at Villa Park

Sunday 11 February 2024 15:59

Erik ten Hag has made one change to Manchester United's starting XI for today's Premier League match away at Aston Villa (16:30 GMT).

The Reds delivered one of our best performances of 2023/24 last Sunday, when beating West Ham 3-0, but suffered a huge blow when Lisandro Martinez was substituted due to a knee injury.

The next day, the club confirmed that the Argentinian would miss "at least" eight weeks, so we knew at least one change was coming for this tough fixture at Villa Park.

 Raphael Varane is the defender that has been chosen to step in as Martinez's replacement. Erik has otherwise kept the team exactly the same.
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Ten Hag: We have to make the next step

Erik ten Hag hopes his team's progress will continue against Aston Villa...

Speaking to the media shortly after the team news was confirmed, Ten Hag explained his thinking, and confirmed that Harry Maguire – not Varane – would play as the left-sided centre-back.

"The thinking is there are more players who can play left centre-half, but what helps is that Luke Shaw is back," Erik told Sky Sports.

"Now we have a left-footer on the left side. Now we have our options, and we can look from game to game what is the best to play there. Today we have Rapha Varane and Harry Maguire [and] I think it's very strong. They are very experienced, and both can play on the left side or the right side. So we are very confident.

"Varane to play on the left? No, Harry Maguire," the boss continued. "The last game, Rapha Varane played very good against Ollie Watkins who, as you know, can be very [dangerous]. Harry Maguire is used to playing on the left side a lot, and the partnership with Luke Shaw is very familiar with him, so that was the thought."

Despite Martinez's enforced absence, there's good news elsewhere on the defensive front. Jonny Evans is back on the bench and Victor Lindelof, who came on for the final few minutes against West Ham, is among the substitutes again if Ten Hag requires further options in that area.

The manager can also call upon left-footers Antony and Amad to add variety, and the goalscoring threat of Scott McTominay is in reserve too.

See below for the full line-ups for both teams...
Arriving for action Video

Arriving for action

The Reds turn up at Villa Park ahead of our approaching Premier League clash...

Villa: Martinez; Cash, Carlos, Lenglet, Moreno; Luiz, Ramsay, Kamara, McGinn (c); Bailey, Watkins.
Substitutes: Substitutes: Olsen, Kesler-Hayden, Digne, Pau Torres, Iroegbunam, Tielemans, Zaniolo, Diaby, Rogers.
United: Onana; Dalot, Maguire, Varane, Shaw; Casemiro, Mainoo; Garnacho, Fernandes (c), Rashford; Hojlund.
Substitutes: Bayindir, Lindelof, Evans, Amrabat, Eriksen, McTominay, Forson, Antony, Amad.