Ten Hag pleased with players' versatility

Saturday 27 April 2024 13:34

Erik ten Hag has praised his players for their adaptability and leadership qualities during a difficult period for Manchester United.

The Reds have been ravaged by injuries in defence, with Lisandro Martinez, Victor Lindelof, Tyrell Malacia, Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans all out. Youngster Willy Kambwala filled in, only to also join the list of absentees.

It has led to Casemiro reverting to centre-back, alongside in-form Harry Maguire, while Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have switched flanks, at times, in the full-back roles.

Bruno Fernandes and Antony have even dropped into defence, during the dramatic Emirates FA Cup win over Liverpool, and this is the sort of approach that Ten Hag demands.

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“Whoever is selected, it’s important that everyone is doing their job, and that includes playing in roles which aren’t completely natural," the manager wrote in his programme notes. "Casemiro, for example, has only occasionally played centre-back during his career, but he has filled in for the team and, alongside Harry Maguire, has done an excellent job.

“Casemiro has approached the job with a perfect mindset. He and Harry have also provided valuable experience and leadership, along with the example being set by Bruno game-after-game, and we are going to need some more of those qualities during this final period of the season.”

There is the hope, and expectation, that at least some of the injured players will be back before the campaign is out.

After taking on Burnley, the Reds are not in action again until facing Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Bank Holiday Monday next month.

Read the manager's thoughts in United Review, the official matchday programme, which also contains an exclusive interview with winger Antony.