Who will Ten Hag's centre-backs be against Aston Villa?

Friday 28 April 2023 01:00

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has addressed Manchester United’s situation at centre-back ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game against Aston Villa.

Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw partnered each other at the heart of our defence for the second game in succession during Thursday’s 2-2 draw away to Tottenham, with Harry Maguire missing the game completely due to an injury picked up in training before the visit to the capital.

Following the absences of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane, left-back Shaw has deputised in the role over our last two outings – with Maguire also not involved in last Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final due to suspension – while United had no recognised central defender on the bench at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

With Maguire’s availability for Sunday’s Old Trafford meeting with Villa unknown at this point, Ten Hag was asked in his post-match press conference whether Lindelof and Shaw will partner each other again at the weekend.

Watch Erik's post-match press conference Video

Watch Erik's post-match press conference

See how Ten Hag fielded the media's questions, following our away draw with Spurs...

“We have to look from game to game and now we have to focus on Villa and see what's the best against Villa,” Erik explained on Thursday night. 

“But we don't have so many options in that position. 

“Already a left full-back like Luke is doing great now as a left centre-back.”

The pairing, who helped United keep a clean sheet during Sunday’s 120-minute semi-final against Brighton, were on to contribute towards another shutout on Thursday before a second-half Spurs fightback. 

Erik acknowledges that the game obviously became a trickier task for our makeshift pairing with when the hosts upped the ante after the break – erasing a first-half 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 - but maintains that both players can have a positive outlook on their efforts once more.

90 in 20: Tottenham v United Video

90 in 20: Tottenham v United

90 in 20 | Extended highlights of an entertaining match in north London are now available to view...

“When you give the balls away too often, then they [Tottenham] have more part in the game on the ball, in possession, then they [Lindelof and Shaw] get more tested in that part,” the boss added.

“That was definitely the case, and then it got more difficult. 

“But I think all over they did, again, a good job.”