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‘I can’t force it’ – Erik ten Hag explains why he didn’t start the 26-year-old Manchester United star in the Europa League

97bf5 16651250169197 1920
97bf5 16651250169197 1920

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has stated that the club wants to be careful about bringing Anthony Martial back into the squad.

Martial has had to deal with a couple of injuries in the first few months of the current season. The 26-year-old has already missed seven games in all competitions for the Red Devils this term.

He returned to action in Manchester United’s 6-3 loss against Manchester City last weekend, coming on for the final 31 minutes. Some fans were expecting the Frenchman to start United’s UEFA Europa League fixture away from home against Omonia Nicosia on Thursday (October 6).

However, he had to settle for another appearance from the bench. Ten Hag has now explained why that was the case. He said after the match against Omonia (quoted by Manchester Evening News):

“We want to do it very carefully because he had a good pre-season. Well, in form, also with a good impact and the last 10 minutes (of the pre-season friendly) against Atlético de Madrid he fell and then came back against Liverpool (on August 22). ), so another injury, which put him far behind.”

The Dutch tactician added:

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“I can’t force him. I have to do it with a plan, that’s what we’re trying to do. It’s pretty clear. Happy with his performance, all the subs had a really good impact.”

Ten Hag concluded:

“That’s what I expect from the players on the bench. You’re not playing with 11, you’re playing with five, so all the substitutes need to be ready and tonight is the best example you can get.”

Anthony Martial missed Manchester United’s first two Premier League games due to a hamstring injury. He featured for the Red Devils in their 2-1 win over Liverpool in August and even assisted Marcus Rashford’s goal.

However, he then experienced some problems with his Achilles tendon, which put him out of action for a further five matches in all competitions. Upon his return, Martial scored twice against Manchester City and also found the back of the net against Onomia.


Manchester United shift focus to Premier League after comeback over Onomia Nicosia

Manchester United were far from their best in their 3-2 win over Onomia.

The Red Devils created chances but didn’t seize them and had to pay when the Cypriot team took the lead in the 34th minute. United equalized through substitute Rashford’s goal in the 52nd minute. The Englishman then assisted Martial in the 63rd minute before to score his second with six minutes to go.

Omonia pulled one back in the 85th minute, but Erik ten Hag’s men held on to collect the three points. They are now second in Group E of the Europa League, three points behind the leaders, Real Sociedad.

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Manchester United will now turn their attention to a Premier League fixture against an upbeat Everton side at Goodison Park on Sunday (October 9).

Paul Merson predicts Arsenal vs Liverpool and other EPL GW 10 matches! Click here

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