Ten Hag reveals team news for Villa clash

Thursday 08 February 2024 14:30

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has discussed his squad in advance of Sunday's Premier League match at Aston Villa (16:30 GMT kick-off).

The boss has acknowledged that the loss of Lisandro Martinez with a knee injury is a "setback" but says he has other options for the central defensive positions.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka appears to be a real doubt and Mason Mount remains on the sidelines.

Tyrell Malacia and Anthony Martial are also absentees, as the Reds look to close the gap on Unai Emery's team to five points by completing the double over the Midlanders, who lost at home to Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup on Wednesday.

"It is a setback, of course," the manager said, in relation to Martinez's injury. "Licha was just returning.

"You see his contribution to the team when he is playing, so he brings, apart from his technical skills, also a mentality in the team. It is a big setback for Licha, he is very disappointed, but he is a fighter and he will be back, he will be back stronger.

"We think he will still be back by the end of the season. There are games to play so, as a squad, we have to replace him. We have very good players in that position who will play there and perform there and, as a squad, we have to deal with it.

"We have options [around] how to deal with that position. We have good centre-halves in our squad. The others are also available. Luke [Shaw] can also play there. So I am quite confident that we can keep this process going and that others can fulfil that position and contribute playing high levels. Those players are very experienced and are very good players, so it is up to them now to fulfil it."

Wan-Bissaka had been closing on a return to the matchday squad, but that may not be the case after the training session at Carrington on Thursday.

"Aaron Wan-Bissaka, today, was training but then he dropped out," explained Erik at the pre-match press conference. "So I don't know, in this moment, where he is and what is the diagnosis.

"Hopefully, he is not too bad. And Mason and Ty are not ready to return to the squad."

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Morgan Rogers, the January recruit from Middlesbrough, is available again after being cup-tied for the 3-1 defeat to Chelsea.

However, the Midlanders are definitely without Ezri Konsa, who has joined Tyrone Mings on the sidelines for the next three or four weeks. Matty Cash was drafted into the side in midweek, as the only change to the XI that thumped Sheffield United 5-0 last weekend, with Diego Carlos and Clement Lenglet operating in the middle of the defence.

Another centre-back, Pau Torres, was fit enough to make the bench, along with Nicolo Zaniolo.

Jacob Ramsey is also struggling for fitness, with Emery adding on Wednesday night: "I wanted to keep him [back] because he is getting some injuries and isn't 100 per cent [when] playing. I decided to play him in the minutes he played. I was thinking about the management of the players, thinking about not just the match today but the next matches."