Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has insisted injuries have been largely to blame for the club’s disappointing season so far.
The Red Devils were expected to kick on this year after a fine debut campaign with Ten Hag at the helm, finishing third in the Premier League and winning the Carabao Cup.
But United were eliminated at the group stage upon their return to the Champions League this season, while they currently sit sixth in the Premier League table.
United can close the gap on Aston Villa – who currently sit fourth but could be overtaken by Tottenham Hotspur in they win on Saturday – to five points with victory in the West Midlands on Sunday. Ahead of that game, Sky Sports asked Ten Hag whether the ‘great frustration’ of his side’s season so far has been their overwhelming injury list.
“Absolutely,” he replied. “It stops the progress.
“Every time you have to adjust you don’t have routines, you don’t have partnerships and that is what we have seen.
“I think we have had nine different set-ups in the centre-half positions. In other positions we have to swap a lot and that was forced by injuries so we hope now we can keep a consistent team.”
90min Man Utd WhatsApp channel
Looking to keep up to date with everything happening at Old Trafford? Click this link or scan the QR code below to follow 90min’s Man Utd WhatsApp channel and turn on notifications to receive all the latest news!
Most of United’s key players have spent long periods on the sidelines with injury at some point of this season, but with the majority of the squad fit again, there is hope that the season can still be salvaged.
Ten Hag has had to rely on a lot of younger players of late, with Alejandro Garnacho, academy product Kobbie Mainoo and summer signing Rasmus Hojlund all stepping up with huge contributions in recent weeks.
“They bring energy,” Ten Hag said of his young stars. “I think it’s always a combination of experience and high potentials. And when they respect each other, and they want to strengthen each other, then you have a team and that is always the objective because every player knows when there is a team you can achieve higher performances and higher levels and so achieve more.”