Erik ten Hag feels for Anthony Martial after forward’s latest injury setback

Martial was forced off in United’s win at Everton.
Erik ten Hag feels for Anthony Martial after forward’s latest injury setback

By Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer

Erik ten Hag feels sorry for Anthony Martial after the improving Manchester United forward was sidelined by his third different injury of the season.

The 26-year-old’s Old Trafford future looked to be over when he joined Sevilla in January for an ultimately underwhelming six-month loan stint.

But Ten Hag’s summer arrival injected new life into Martial’s United career, with the France international starting up front in all four matches during the pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.

A hamstring injury in the final friendly would see him miss the start of the season, before he sustained an Achilles issue and was then forced off with a back complaint in Sunday’s 2-1 win at Everton.

“Not (training) today,” manager Ten Hag said ahead of Thursday’s Europa League match against Omonia Nicosia. “We will see how he develops to Sunday (when United play Newcastle).

“I’ve had several talks with him about that (run of injuries). I’m really disappointed for him.

“I think from the quality in all the minutes he played he did very well, also Sunday.

“He played well, good assist for Antony for the first goal, but also in the pressing he was really good.

Anthony Martial came off injured against Everton at the weekend
Anthony Martial came off injured against Everton at the weekend (Peter Byrne/PA).

“I think he was an important factor that played that well in the first half.

“But obviously he fell out and that’s a disappointment for him and for the team as well.”

Put to Ten Hag that Martial’s injuries must be frustrating given how much he planned around him in pre-season, the United boss said: “Of course. I want him in, I want every player to be available.

“Sometimes it’s disappointing when players are not available because I know we need them, especially when all the games are coming up now.

“But I know when players are not available you have to deal with the situation and it’s about the players who are available and that’s what I do.”

Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire is also unavailable through injury (Martin Rickett/PA).

Injured United captain Harry Maguire joins Martial on the sidelines, with Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe also out.

Ten Hag’s side sit second in Group E after responding from an opening day home defeat to Real Sociedad with back-to-backs wins at Sheriff Tiraspol and Omonia.

Last week’s 3-2 victory in Cyprus was nervy at times and they host Neil Lennon’s side on Thursday looking to keep their hopes alive of usurping Sociedad in the final pool match.

If they fail and finish runners-up, United will have to play in a knockout round play-off against one of the third-ranked teams from the Champions League group phase.

 

“I told the players weeks ago before the break that it’s important to get number one in this group, so that will be our aim,” Ten Hag said.

“As you know, our aim is always to win all the games, but it’s clear and we want to avoid that.

“But if that is the way, if you want to win you have to win them all.”

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