Erik ten Hag gave further details in the embargoed section of his press conference ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Leeds United.
The manager first gave an update on Anthony Martial’s injury status, with the Frenchman once again unavailable for the Leeds match, saying “At the minute, it is his hip. He is not always available.”
He was, however, appreciative of the qualities the striker brings when fit.
“But also, I see the other side when he is available. He was never 100 per cent this season but he had a big impact every time he is available, even when he is at 80, 85, 90 per cent.
“We do everything and Anthony Martial is doing everything. I think Anthony Martial is the player who has spent the most hours at Carrington this season, to return to recover, to get back, it is really so a pity for him that he is disappointed.”
It is clear that Ten Hag wants the Frenchman to do well and highlighted the amount of work Martial has done in trying to get fit for action:
We do everything and Anthony Martial is doing everything. Anthony Martial I think is the player who spends the most hours at Carrington this season, to return, to recover, to get back.”
“It is really such a pity for him and us. He is disappointed and he is not always available like we want him to be. That will improve our game because routines cannot continue when you are not always available.”
Worryingly, Martial appears to have incredible misfortune as when the manager was asked if the striker’s injury was a recurring once, he said, “No. Every time it is in a different area.”
Ten Hag was also appreciative of new signing Wout Weghort, particularly regarding his energy up front:
“Wout Weghorst is doing a really good job for us in pressing. His offensive movements are very good and he is the one who makes players around him play better, to create spaces and also he had some contributions in the box.”
As with any new signing, a bedding in period is to be expected, but in Weghort’s case, United will need his teammates’ help to succeed, particularly given the short nature of his loan.
Ten Hag reflected on this, saying, “As a team, we have to work better to anticipate his movements because his movements are good, quite a lot of times he was close, like the header against the post against Forest. It was a penalty against Forest which he didn’t get.”
While Ten Hag has made good use of the loan market, in the summer, United are expected to for more permanent additions, and the manager suggested as much, saying, “I think our summer plans, we have an idea on the long-term.
“You will also look two-three windows ahead and so we have that long-term plan. But also, you have to revisit that plan every time because of developments.”
That last line may well have been a nod to his use of the loan market to address specific issues as they arise, however the manager took a positive spin by referring to United’s emerging young star, Alejandro Garnacho:
“For instance, who could have expected this development with [Alejandro] Garnacho and so this changes your approach to the window.”
Ten Hag also gave an update on Antony’s injury saying, “I don’t think it is a long time but we have to see how it develops in the coming days.”
On a more positive note, Jadon Sancho appears to be ready for action: “He is good. We saw last week that he came in and he did really well. It was also a pity and was one of the consequences of the sending off of Casemiro [vs Crystal Palace] that I couldn’t bring him in.”
United fans will be hoping the winger makes a strong return against Leeds United in the first of a double header against their fierce rivals.
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