Ten Hag: Martinez ‘needs to accept’ Manchester United return amid World Cup celebrations

Erik ten Hag says World Cup winner Lisandro Martinez “needs to accept” that Manchester United’s Premier League campaign resumes on December 27.

The centre-back is currently celebrating Argentina’s victory in Buenos Aires, having appeared in five of his country’s seven matches in the competition.

Martinez missed United’s 2-0 win over Burnley on Wednesday in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. United play Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.

When asked if Martinez was available, Ten Hag replied: “I can’t answer that question now – he’s still celebrating in Buenos Aires!

“He’s going around Buenos Aires, and I can understand that because it’s emotional when you reach this and go to the World Cup for your country.

“It’s amazing and at the top what you can achieve. But Licha Martinez has to accept that at 27, the Premier League will go on.”

Pep Guardiola’s teammate says Julian Alvarez will not return to Manchester City for at least a week, while Alexis McAllister will not play for Brighton & Hove Albion before the New Year.

Ten Hag was also asked how Varane felt after losing the final. The defender went off injured in the final minutes of extra time.

“He is disappointed to lose in the final, but he can be proud to have reached the final again,” answered the Dutch coach. “He has already won his football career and it is huge. A player like Rapha, when you win a lot of titles and finish second, he can still be proud because reaching the final is a big achievement.

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“The nationals were very close and they came to the final and even in the final they were very close.”

With only five days between the end of the World Cup and the resumption of United’s challenge, Ten Hag also discussed the difficulties of planning the restart, including individual training programs.

“We had a plan of how to do it and how to manage the load of the players,” he said. “It’s all based on the individual, no one person is the same or no program is the same.

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“No one has the same moments when they play in different positions and at different ages. We tried to find a special plan for everyone.

“But we all know that the restart is five days after the World Cup final, we all know after the World Cup that the Premier League goes quickly.

“Everyone has to be ready for that, so you have to accept that – and that’s the manager, the coaching staff and the players.”

United are fifth in the Premier League standings, three points behind the top four, despite having a game in hand at Tottenham Hotspur.

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(Photo: Getty Images)


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