Ten Hag hints at Man Utd debut for Marcel Sabitzer
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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed three injury absentees ahead of Leeds’ visit to Old Trafford on Wednesday. The Dutchman is poised to be without midfield talisman Casemiro regardless, following the Brazilian’s controversial red card against Crystal Palace.
Big-money summer signing Antony started the win over Palace, but the boss has confirmed that he is set to miss Wednesday’s showdown through injury. Two other first-team stars have failed to return to fitness on time, with Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay also set to miss out.
McTominay’s absence may be felt particularly harshly, with United crying out for midfield options following Christian Eriksen’s injury and Casemiro’s suspension. The shortage in the middle of the park may lead to a prominent role for January signing Marcel Sabitzer, who was snapped up in a last-minute loan deal from Bayern Munich.
United fans may have held out faint hopes of welcoming Casemiro back to the starting XI on Wednesday, despite the midfielder being shown a straight red card for putting his hands around Will Hughes’ throat last time out.
Supporters feel aggrieved that nothing was done about the other skirmishes shown by replays after an altercation broke out between multiple players from both sides. Despite complaining after the game that a Palace player did something ‘even worse’ than Casemiro, Ten Hag has since suggested that an appeal is off the cards.
When asked whether the Red Devils had even considered appealing the three-match ban, the Dutchman explained: “Consider, yeah. Still it’s for me not the right decision but I don’t think we have a chance in a legal process.”
United are due to face an unknown quantity after Leeds parted company with manager Jesse Marsch on Monday. Michael Skubala is poised to take caretaker charge for the trip to Old Trafford, which may have made Ten Hag’s job of preparing for the match more difficult due to a potential change in style and system.
“We have to be aware of [the change] because when Jesse Marsch was at Leeds it was clear how they played. Now it’s possible they change but it’s also possible they don’t. We will only find out on the pitch tomorrow but we need good anticipation on that so we know what to do.
“I’ve always said that if a manager gets sacked, in general I don’t believe in it. Let managers do their work. The pressure is high with decision makers in football clubs, but if you see the stats, mostly it doesn’t work out so well.”
Leeds have huge incentives to scrap for every point over the coming weeks, with the Whites hovering above the relegation zone only on goal difference. The Red Devils, meanwhile, are vying to go level on points with second-place Manchester City.
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