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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Sir Alex Ferguson’s former signing identifies ‘essential’ Man Utd star in Erik ten Hag’s team, he brings crucial ‘balance’

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One of Sir Alex Ferguson’s former signings has insisted that one Manchester United star is “essential” to Erik ten Hag’s team and could rescue the club’s top-four Premier League challenge.

Manchester United face an uphill battle in securing a top-four Premier League finish this season, with the Red Devils currently languishing in sixth place in the table.

Erik ten Hag’s men went into the March international break six points behind fifth-place Tottenham and nine points adrift of fourth-place Aston Villa.

However, the Red Devils have a match in hand over Aston Villa, with United having 10 Premier League fixtures remaining in the 2023-24 season.

Ten Hag has reinforced his desire to see his side secure Champions League football next season and mount a challenge for the FA Cup trophy in the current campaign.

United took one step further in their challenge for the FA Cup trophy ahead of the international break, with the Red Devils beating Liverpool in the quarter-finals.

READ MORE: Graeme Souness claims only two managers took a ‘very different approach’ at Man Utd post-Sir Alex Ferguson


Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images


Man Utd and Ten Hag need ‘essential’ star player

Manchester United will return to Premier League action on Sunday when they take on Brentford away from home.

However, the Red Devils face two tough Premier League fixtures in early April, with United travelling away to Chelsea before welcoming Liverpool to Old Trafford.

Alan Smith, who played under Sir Alex Ferguson in the 2000s, has now insisted that United need Lisandro Martinez if they want to push for a top-four finish.

“He’s an essential part of the team, and he’s left-sided, which has been a huge loss for them this year,” he said, as per the Metro.

“Nearly all the left-sided players have been decimated with injury. Luke Shaw’s been out, Martinez, [Tyrell] Malacia.

“I know that Ten Hag as a Dutch coach likes that balance, and you see strange decisions as managers just to see if you can get a left-footed or left-sided player in the team.

“I think just for giving the balance, makes it hard when he’s not in the team. Not only is he a great defender that looks like a real good leader, but being left-footed with so few left-sided options would have a massive impact on the team as well for the balance of the team.”

Man Utd are missing Martinez’s presence

Lisandro Martinez has been out of action for United since February after he limped off in the Red Devils’ 3-0 Premier League win over West Ham at Old Trafford.

United confirmed that the 26-year-old Argentine defender would be out of action for at “least eight weeks,” with Martinez now verging on his return to the team.

Martinez, who has been a pivotal figure in the United backline, has had to contend with injuries this season and the Red Devils have struggled without his influence.

The Argentina defender was sidelined earlier this season after he underwent surgery to fix a metatarsal injury that he had suffered in the previous campaign.

Martinez previously worked under Ten Hag at Ajax before reuniting with the Dutchman at Old Trafford in 2022 after his £57m move to United.

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