Home » Erik ten Hag reveals thoughts on Manchester United’s centre back situation

Erik ten Hag reveals thoughts on Manchester United’s centre back situation

by David O'Neill

Erik ten Hag has suggested that neither Victor Lindelof nor Harry Maguire have cemented themselves as the club’s third-choice central defender.

With Raphael Varane still injured, the pair have alternated in filling in alongside summer signing Lisandro Martinez.

In his pre-match press conference, the manager was asked if would be fair to say that Victor Lindelof was now considered his third-choice centre back following the Swede’s start against Real Sociedad.

Erik ten Hag replied by saying he had “to think about that” although his answer revealed that he is taking more of a horses-for-courses approach.

“I have to see against Aston Villa. That’s a difficult one because they have a new manager. So I have to look at it and analyse for that team.”

In immediately pointed to the Aston Villa game, the Dutchman appeared to suggest that neither centre back was ahead of the other.

Rather, it seems to be a game-by-game decision for Ten Hag, although as far as he is concerned, both are well-suited to playing next to the preferred Martinez.

“I have to say Lichaj and Victor played really well together over some more games. But Lichaj and Harry last Sunday against West Ham kept a clean sheet and also did really well.

“So it’s a choice we have to make, but when I choose one, that is nothing against the other.”

It is possible that Ten Hag is choosing between Lindelof and Maguire based on the type of attacking threat United are likely to face.

Sociedad presented the challenge of dealing with quick short passes – something Lindelof perhaps has the agility to deal with.

Against David Moyes’ West Ham, the more direct approach, and the aerial threat of Gianluca Scamacca may have persuaded Ten Hag to go with Maguire.

With Aston Villa lacking a genuine target man and Unai Emery’s teams usually keeping the ball on the deck, that may suggest that Lindelof gets the nod on Sunday.

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