Erik ten Hag explains Antony’s absence and why Raphael Varane was benched for Manchester United’s clash with Bournemouth

Erik ten Hag says Antony is injured and unavailable for Manchester United’s clash with Bournemouth on Tuesday night, while he has also explained the decision to bench Raphael Varane.

The Brazilian started United’s last two matches against Nottingham Forest and Wolves but looked out of sorts in both games and has not scored or assisted for the club since the middle of October.

There had been speculation he might be dropped from the starting XI for the visit of Bournemouth, but when the team news arrived he was not in the matchday squad at all.

Asked if there was anything he could say about Antony’s surprising absence from the squad, Ten Hag replied bluntly to MUTV: ‘He’s injured.’

United will hope Antony’s injury is nothing too serious with the games coming thick and fast in the New Year, with the Red Devils back in action on Friday night in the FA Cup against Everton.

Elsewhere in the side, Ten Hag opted to move Luke Shaw back to left-back with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof starting at centre-back and Raphael Varane moving to the bench.

Asked to explain that decision, Ten Hag continued: ‘It’s not about tonight. They were the two we expected to start after the World Cup in the restart but then they both became ill and they were out. Now they are recovered so they are back in the team.’

Referencing Varane directly in a separate interview, he added: ‘Varane covered some games and we know we have to manage him and keep him fit. He is a very important player for us and he is a leader and that is why he is having a game out.

The Brazilian looked out of sorts in his last two outings

‘We have many combinations [in defence] and it is all about rules. We defend as a team, as an 11, when you keep the rules you can get the clean sheet with aggressiveness and timings, people in their departments doing their jobs and that’s what we are aiming for.’

In Antony’s absence, there are suggestions that Bruno Fernandes could line up on the wing with Donny van de Beek coming into the midfield for a rare start.

Lisandro Martinez, meanwhile, is named on the bench after returning from the World Cup with a winners’ medal and Ten Hag is keen to see him get a warm reception from supporters at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman added: ‘It’s a reward and I think he deserves it. I think it was a great performance from the Argentines at the World Cup and it showed when you act as a team, when you play proactive football and you have a winning attitude.

‘And he was part of that, he played a massive role, we value that and now he’s got the reward and I really enjoy that.’

No comments:

Post a Comment