Team news ahead of Brentford trip
Erik ten Hag spoke to club media and to reporters early on Friday afternoon, ahead of Saturday's 17:30 BST kick-off against Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium.
United are looking to secure our first points of the new Premier League season, following last Sunday's surprise 2-1 home defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Anthony Martial and Victor Lindelof missed the meeting with the Seagulls through injury, although both were present at Old Trafford and watched the game from the director's box, alongside the other Reds who did not make the 20-man matchday squad.
Unfortunately, Ten Hag has told us that neither player will quite be ready for our visit to the capital - the first of seven away games we'll play in London during the 2022/23 top-flight season.
“It’s still the same,” he told club reporter Stewart Gardner when asked if there was any changes in regards to the players who are available for this weekend.
Christian Eriksen started against the Seagulls as a false nine, but United notably improved when he dropped deeper and Cristiano Ronaldo was introduced as a more traditional forward option on 52 minutes.
Before that game, Ten Hag said Ronaldo was still building fitness after his shorter pre-season, but the Dutchman believes our no.7 has had a strong week of working at Carrington and could be in contention to feature for longer in London.
“So, he had a good training week, I thought he played a little bit longer than half an hour [against Brighton], I would say he now has two half a games,” Ten Hag told reporters later, at his pre-match press conference.
“The starting XI, we will see tomorrow. I, of course, have made my decision but I [will] keep it.”
United's squad benefited from a behind-closed-door friendly earlier this week and Ten Hag feels he needs two players in each position who are fully fit and raring to go as we move forward this season.
“I don’t like them being behind closed doors but it was behind and we needed all the players to get the minutes in the legs,” added Erik, in our exclusive interview which you can watch in full on Saturday morning.
“Of course it’s best to get that in the league, but we have a squad and we need the squad.
“We need double positions and of course they can also show their capabilities to me and to the team, and get to the right fitness levels and work hard. That’s the most important thing.”
BRENTFORD'S TEAM NEWS
The Bees completed the signing of Denmark international Mikkel Damsgaard earlier this week and he is available to play in Saturday’s game, although Thomas Frank has said he is not yet ready to start.
Damsgaard caught the eye at Euro 2020 but spent much of last season on the sidelines due to injury, playing just 12 times for Sampdoria.
Defender Ethan Pinnock is out of action for an unspecified amount of time with a knee problem, while Kristoffer Ajer and Sergi Canos both have hamstring issues and are unlikely to be involved.
"I don't think there is an ideal time to play Man Utd,” said Frank. “There is no doubt they will be the favourites. They can't afford to lose to us tomorrow. I have the belief we can win."