Lisandro Martinez

Ten Hag's update on defensive duo

Sunday 03 September 2023 20:25

Erik ten Hag has explained why Manchester United's starting centre-backs against Arsenal - Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof - were substituted during the second half.

Both changes at the Emirates Stadium seemed enforced and neither player was on the field when the Gunners scored two injury-time goals to triumph 3-1 and snatch all three points. 

When asked about his defensive duo after the defeat, Ten Hag confirmed in his post-match press conference that Martinez had a foot problem and revealed that Lindelof had played the game with symptoms of an illness.

The Swede's inclusion in the starting XI, as a replacement for the injured Raphael Varane, was the only change from United's previous line-up, against Nottingham Forest eight days beforehand.
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"Victor was ill, so he had to come off," explained the manager.

"And Licha said he had a problem on his foot. But I'm not sure if it's an injury.

"We have to wait, we have to see, we have to make the diagnosis."

Martinez was replaced by Harry Maguire in the 67th minute, in a double substitution that also brought Rasmus Hojlund on for Anthony Martial as the Dane made his eagerly awaited United debut.

Lindelof lasted until the 84th minute, when Jonny Evans came off the bench to make his first appearance for the Reds since his May 2015 departure.

The Northern Ireland international signed a one-year contract with the club on Friday, having initially returned on a short-term deal for our pre-season games.

Erik ten Hag consoles Victor Lindelof after illness forced the Swede's substitution.
Meanwhile, midfielder Scott McTominay and winger Jadon Sancho were absent from the matchday squad altogether.

When asked at the press conference if they were also injured, Ten Hag replied: "No, Scott is ill.

"And Jadon, on his performance in training, was not selected. You have to reach a level at Manchester United every day and we can make choices in the front line. So for this game he was not selected."

The Reds now head into the international break, giving the absent and substituted players almost a fortnight to make themselves available for our next fixture, at home to Brighton and Hove Albion on 16 September.