Manchester United’s head coach, Erik ten Hag, is anticipating Lisandro Martinez’s availability for the upcoming Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur in North London on Saturday.
Martinez, hailing from Argentina, was substituted during his team’s inaugural match of the 2023-24 season against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night.
Initially, it seemed the switch was tactical, given the yellow card Martinez received in the first half. However, Raphael Varane later revealed post-match that his fellow centre-back had experienced a minor ankle concern.
Uncertainty loomed over his participation in the forthcoming encounter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Nevertheless, during his pre-match press conference, Ten Hag announced that Martinez had been involved in training and is thus likely to be eligible for selection against the London side.
Erik ten Had in today’s press conference said:
“Yesterday, he trained, so I think so. Yeah,”
The team engaged in a closed-door friendly with Everton on Tuesday, an event Ten Hag considered pivotal for players to accumulate match minutes at this juncture of the season.
“I think it’s very helpful to give players the minutes at the start of the season. To come back to 90 minutes after pre-season. It’s not that we had a pre-season for six weeks. It was, more or less, four or five weeks,”
“Therefore, we need such games to provide all players with the opportunity to integrate into the season.”
Kobbie Mainoo, Amad Diallo, Tyrell Malacia, and Tom Heaton continue to be sidelined for Manchester United. Additionally, Rasmus Hojlund is unlikely to participate this weekend, despite making strides in recovering from a back ailment.
In the previous season, the team experienced challenges on the road, losing eight out of 19 away league matches. Ten Hag emphasised the significance of enhancing this aspect in the 2023-24 campaign.
“One of our objectives this season is to raise our performance in away games to secure more points and achieve higher standards. This, of course, forms the foundation for accruing more points,” he stressed.
“It’s often tied to character. Thus, I demand from the players to exhibit greater character on the pitch, to triumph in such matches, and amass more points during away games.”
Manchester United encountered difficulty in asserting themselves against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the season opener, but they managed to secure all three points through a second-half header by Varane.