Team news: Ten Hag's update on absent trio

Wednesday 15 February 2023 18:08

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has provided a positive update on the fitness of Antony, Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay.

After those three players did not travel to Barcelona for Thursday’s Europa League play-off first leg, the boss was asked about their respective recoveries in his pre-match press conference.

More specifically, the enquiry was about whether they could return in time for the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle United, on Sunday 26 February. That showpiece game follows the two legs of the Barcelona tie, which sandwich a Premier League fixture at home to Leicester City.

“It looks good,” replied Ten Hag, in his media briefing at the Nou Camp.

Revealed: Our squad for Barcelona away


Erik ten Hag has taken 21 players on United's trip to the Nou Camp.

“I think they are on the way back. They are coming back in the training squad, [with] the individual [training work]. 

“At the end of the week, maybe Scott can begin training with the team and after the weekend maybe Antony [can do that too], but we have to see. 

“They are making progress, [that is] what we see now.”

United will also be without Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer for Thursday’s contest in Catalonia, as both players are suspended.

During the press conference, Erik was joined by Luke Shaw, and was asked if the full-back could deputise in a central defensive role in Martinez’s absence.

“We have, I think, many options in the squad to sort it out and we can use Luke as a full-back and as a centre-back,” said the manager. 

“We saw at the weekend he did both, and both he did very well. But we have in the centre-half other good options, and they also do well. We can choose by game what we prefer.”

Long-term absentees Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek are also unavailable.

Erik: You can see Xavi’s imprint on Barcelona


Ten Hag believes his counterpart’s style as a player has transferred over into his coaching role at the Nou Camp.


For the hosts, Xavi will be without two key players for Thursday’s first leg. 

Long-serving midfielder Sergio Busquets – who ws involved in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals against United – will miss the game due to an ankle problem but could be involved in the return match at Old Trafford, next week.

It is being reported in the media that winger Ousmane Dembele is set to miss both games through injury.