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Erik ten Hag challenges two Manchester United players to fill huge squad gap



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Erik ten Hag has challenged two of his Manchester United players to fill the gap left after it was confirmed that Lisandro Martínez has suffered an eight-week injury.

Lisandro Martínez will be out of action for Manchester United for “at least eight weeks” after the club confirmed that he had sustained an injury to his knee during the club’s 3-0 win over West Ham.

Goals from Rasmus Højlund and Alejandro Garnacho saw the club produce one of their best performances all season, however the loss of Martínez is a big blow for Erik ten Hag.

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Next, United will travel to face Aston Villa, and in his pre-match press conference, Ten Hag was asked how he thinks he can compensate for Martínez’s injury in relation to the return of Victor Lindelöf.

He then explained that the club have multiple options, challenging both Lindelöf and Luke Shaw to take up covering the role.

“We have options [for] how to deal with that position,” he said. “We have good centre-halves in our squad. The others are also available. Luke can play also there.

“So I am quite confident that we can keep this process going and that others can fulfil that position and contribute playing high levels. Those players are very experienced and are very good players, so it is up to them now to fulfil it.”

For Luke Shaw to be able to cover at left-centre back, Tyrell Malacia would have to return to fitness. Malacia has been out of action since before pre-season. However, he has been spotted training individually on the grass in recent weeks.

United travel to face Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon, with the club aiming to pull themselves towards the top four positions. Villa, who are fourth, currently sit eight points ahead of United in sixth place, but a win for Ten Hag’s men would take them within five points.

However, a loss would set them back to 11 points behind, making the dream of Champions League football further out of reach.