Erik Ten Hag On Whether Man #Utd Can Cope Without Injured Lisandro #Martinez—-Erik Ten Hag is confident Manchester United’s encouraging run will not be derailed by Lisandro Martinez’s knee injury.
The Argentinian defender was forced off in the second half of last weekend’s victory over West Ham and faces two months on the sidelines after suffering ligament damage in his right knee.
It was only Martinez’s fourth game back following a lengthy spell out because of a recurrence of a foot issue, with United winning three of those matches and drawing one.
“It is a setback, of course. Licha was returning, you see his contribution to the team when he is playing, apart from the technical skills also the mentality,” said Ten Hag.
“It is a big setback for Licha, he is very disappointed about it but he is a fighter. He will be back stronger and we think he’ll be back by the end of the season so there are games to play.
“As a squad, we have to replace him and we have very good players in that position who can play there and will play there. As a squad we have to deal with it.”
Raphael Varane replaced Martinez while Victor Lindelof and Jonny Evans are also options for Ten Hag for Sunday’s trip to Aston Villa.
“We have options, how to deal with that position,” said the Dutchman. “We have good centre-halves in our squad. The others are all available, Luke (Shaw) can play also there.
“I’m quite confident we can keep this process going, that others can fulfil that position and also contribute, play in high levels. Those players are experienced and are very good players so it’s up to them now.”
United have been plagued by injury problems this season and Ten Hag revealed Aaron Wan-Bissaka suffered a setback in training on Thursday, while Mason Mount and Tyrell Malacia also remain sidelined.
Martinez attempted to play on after initially going down, but Ten Hag does not believe that had an effect on the eventual diagnosis.
“I don’t think so, but it was his decision,” said the United boss. “He was comfortable to be back on the pitch but after he tried and then I think stopped in the next attack.
“In some situations it is clear and obvious but there is always a grey area and it’s very difficult to see when you are on the sideline. We have the screens and we see it as well, and our medics are over there and they are communicating with the player, but to assess in one or two minutes is impossible.
“You need 24 hours minimum and sometimes even longer, so how can you do this in two minutes?”
Ten Hag, meanwhile, welcomed the news that Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly keen to invest heavily in Old Trafford.
“If that is his view then I would say it expresses the ambition of this club, which is good. But it is not my task in this club to deal with stadium questions, with facilities, my job is to manage the team and to build the squad,” said Ten Hag.
Another three points on Sunday would be a major boost to United’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League and the associated financial injection that would provide.
They go into the clash eight points behind Villa but at a slightly shaky moment for Unai Emery’s team, who have won only one of their last five matches.
“I’ve said to the team from the start of January, every game is now a final,” said Ten Hag.
“That was also our approach to West Ham. We were one point behind them but this is a final, we have to take this challenge, we have to see this as a final. That will be every game from now on so we are already in that mood.”