Manchester United secured a crucial Premier League victory against Burnley on Saturday night, but the injury woes continue to pile up for manager Erik ten Hag.
In the quest for much-needed points, the Red Devils emerged triumphant with a magnificent first-half volley from Bruno Fernandes. This win marked their third Premier League victory of the season and, most importantly, brought an end to a troubling run of three consecutive defeats in all competitions.
However, as they prepare for a double-header against Crystal Palace this week, Ten Hag faces a mounting headache due to an expanding injury list. The League Cup clash with Palace awaits them on Tuesday, followed by a Premier League showdown on Saturday, both at their home ground.
A long list of injured players includes Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Kobbie Mainoo, Amad Diallo, Mason Mount, and Harry Maguire. Additionally, Jadon Sancho and Antony have been temporarily sidelined from first-team duty.
Lisandro Martinez, who didn’t feature in the recent international break with Argentina due to an injury sustained during United’s defeat at Arsenal earlier this month, seemed to have recovered when he returned to Carrington. He even played a full 90 minutes in Wednesday’s Champions League match against Bayern. However, he was conspicuously absent from the squad for the Burnley encounter.
Speaking about Martinez’s absence, Ten Hag told reporters, “He’s injured. Another one. So Licha had an issue, and he recovered from that. But, still, he needs some build-up. It’s about the players who are available. We have to deal with the players who are available. So we don’t make an issue from it. With the lineup we come with, we have to win.”
With Harry Maguire also unavailable, Ten Hag turned to 35-year-old Jonny Evans, who had initially rejoined the club in the summer primarily for fitness purposes but was later offered a short-term deal after impressing in training. His inclusion proved valuable as his precise pass led to Fernandes’ match-winning goal after he had a goal of his own disallowed.
The lack of defensive cover is now a major concern for the Dutch manager, especially considering the back-to-back matches against Palace, followed by a crucial Champions League fixture against Galatasaray. Martinez’s recurring fitness problems add another layer of complexity to United’s injury situation.