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Erik ten Hag hinted at Manchester Derby line-up decision with substitute vs Charlton



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Manchester United won 3-0 against Charlton Athletic in the EFL Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday evening, with Erik ten Hag making five substitutes on the night ahead of the Manchester Derby.

Casemiro and Marcus Rashford were the standouts from the bench. With the former kickstarting the attacking moves that the latter finished off to take his tally to 15 for the season.

Ten Hag’s men are now in the top four in the Premier League and are also one step away from the club’s first domestic final since 2018. Progression is coming along but the big test comes this weekend.

United will host Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon and if (and that’s a big IF) they can beat Pep Guardiola’s side, The Reds will be just one point behind them in the table.

Last time out against City, Anthony Martial’s late brace in the 6-3 defeat at the Etihad Stadium saved United from being totally embarrassed. There have been changes in the side since then, however. Casemiro has entered the midfield, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford have a new lease of life and Anthony Martial is back fit.

There have been improvements, but they might not be enough to beat City. It does seem like Ten Hag could make a change to his ‘preferred eleven’ and look to shock the visitors in the midfield.

Fred has been playing some of his best football recently, being used as an impactful substitute in the second half of games that need an injection of intensity.

“We need impact from the bench,” said Ten Hag after Fred helped United win against Nottingham Forest. “And I am happy once again it was a player who came from the bench, Fred, who is scoring a goal.”

However, after his most recent display, where he earned a start against Charlton, the midfielder was replaced after 60 minutes. In this upcoming derby, he could be used from the start of the game as Ten Hag looks to ensure his team do not make the same mistakes against the current Champions.

“It was a lack of belief,” was his assessment after defeat against City in October. “I’m surprised why we didn’t bring that on the pitch. I have seen a different team, a different spirit and a different fight… We were not brave in possession.”

The Brazilian midfielder could be part of a midfield three including the trusted pairing of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen, which would mean Bruno Fernandes moving to the right side in place of Antony.

It could also be possible for Eriksen to be demoted to the bench as United will likely be ceding much of the ball and the importance of their counter-pressing and energy out of possession suit United’s no.17.

It is a tough decision, however, to take out such a key member of United’s success so far this season.

With the last few games against their neighbours being bleak, United fans will be hoping to show a much-improved performance this time around and, if that happens, there is every chance of getting a result and continuing that Old Trafford feel-good feeling.