Erik: Absences give others a chance to impress

Thursday 16 March 2023 07:00

While the recent injuries to members of Manchester United's squad are "not optimum," Erik ten Hag believes other players in his ranks now have a chance to impress.

The manager spoke to club media at the Benito Villamarin Stadium on Wednesday night, in his usual pre-match Q&A ahead of Thursday's clash with Real Betis.

Ten Hag's men hold a 4-1 lead going into the second leg of our last-16 tie against the La Liga side, following the first-leg triumph at Old Trafford last week.

The likes of Antony, Anthony Martial and Alejandro Garnacho are not in the squad that travelled to Seville, due to injuries or illness, but Erik says that while he is disappointed to lose the trio - as well as other absentees such as Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek this season - other Reds now have the opportunity to step up and stake their claim.

Watch Ten Hag and Martinez's press conference Video

Watch Ten Hag and Martinez's press conference

Press conference | Erik ten Hag and Lisandro Martinez field reporters' questions before Real Betis v United...

''Yes and I have said that to several players," he replied, on whether the absences provide an opportunity for those who have featured less regularly this term.

"When players get injured, other players have to fill in.

"I think the whole season was not optimum. We lost a lot of players during the season, but every time we put a team on the pitch [we are] really acting as a team who can adjust and deal with setbacks.''

During his pre-match press conference, the boss indicated that he wouldn't be making wholesale changes to his side, despite the Reds' three-goal lead in the tie.

When quizzed on whether some key members of his side would be rested in Seville, Erik said: "It's always serious and we will play our best team."

United take on Real Betis in the second leg of our last-16 Europa League tie at 17:45 GMT this Thursday evening. You can watch Erik's pre-match interview in full from 08:00 GMT.