Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has sternly reminded World Cup winner Lisandro Martinez that the Premier League is back as the Argentine celebrates his team’s triumph at the tournament.
Ten Hag was speaking to the press ahead of Tuesday’s clash against Nottingham Forest.
Against Burnley in the Carabao Cup, Ten Hag could not call on the services of Raphael Varane and Martinez after their World Cup participation ran all the way to the final.
This forced the manager’s hand who had to play Casemiro as a makeshift central defender – a role in which the Brazilian greatly excelled at.
Ten Hag revealed that he expects Varane and Martinez to be back in action soon, but refused to divulge whether they would be available against Forest.
Ten Hag said, “I can’t answer that question now [whether Martinez will be back].
“He is still celebrating now in Buenos Aires now, going around in the touring car! Going around in Buenos Aires and I can understand it, it is very emotional when you achieve this World Cup success in your country.
“It is magnificent, it is the highest that you can achieve [in football]. Licha also has to understand that on December 27, the Premier League is back!”
The Dutch coach added, “He [Varane] is disappointed, as anybody would be after losing the World Cup final. I think he can also be proud [to have played] again in the final, with all that he has achieved in his football career.”
Ten Hag also provided an update on English duo Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho. The United boss said that Sancho will not be available, an indication that he is still continuing with his personal training programme.
Maguire is still sick and it’s unclear whether he will be available for selection against Steve Cooper’s men. Ten Hag insisted that the United skipper is in a race against time to be fit for Tuesday. A decision on his participation is pending.
Ten Hag was quizzed on his ambitions during the second half of the season. He admitted he was under immense pressure to deliver a Champions League finish, but conceded other managers experience the same.
He retorted that he enjoys the pressure and uses it as a motivating factor.
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