Alongside the absence of the important Lisandro Martinez, Erik ten Hag will not be able to call on the services of new signing Marcel Sabitzer on Thursday as Manchester United clash against Barcelona at Camp Nou.
It’s been well-known for some time that Martinez would miss the highly-anticipated affair between the two European giants.
Martinez picked up three yellow cards during the group stages, the last of which came controversially during the Red Devils’ 1-0 win against Real Sociedad.
While United won, the result was not enough to automatically send them through to the round of 16.
The 20-time English champions will first have to get past the Blaugrana who were eliminated from the Champions League during the group stage.
Sabitzer will also not be available.
The Austrian, who has been good so far in Casemiro and Christian Eriksen’s absences, was booked three times while playing for Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
His bookings will carry over to the Europa League.
Sabitzer is therefore not eligible to play against Barcelona in the first leg but will be available for the return fixture at Old Trafford just seven days later.
Marcel Sabitzer will be suspended for #mufc vs Barcelona on Thursday in the first leg of Europa League play-off.
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) February 13, 2023
Sabitzer’s unavailability is a major problem for Erik ten Hag.
Fred is likely to partner Casemiro in the midfield pivot with Bruno Fernandes ahead of the Brazilian duo. With Eriksen, Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek all injured, Ten Hag will therefore not have any other senior midfielder on the bench to bring on, should the need arise.
McTominay has missed United’s last five games and remains doubtful for Thursday’s clash. In addition to plugging the vacuum created by Martinez not being present in defence, Ten Hag will also have to come up with a solution in the middle of the park.