EPL

Martinez returns to Man Utd after World Cup glory

By Sports Desk December 28, 2022

Lisandro Martinez has returned to Manchester United following his World Cup success with Argentina, handing Erik ten Hag a timely boost.

A dramatic penalty shoot-out victory for La Albiceleste against France in the final in Qatar was followed by celebrations in his homeland, with Martinez given an extended break by Ten Hag.

However, his absence has come alongside defensive issues for United as an illness has swept through the squad, affecting both Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.

Casemiro and Luke Shaw have subsequently deputised in central defence for United's last two games – against Burnley in the League Cup and Nottingham Forest in the Premier League – though Raphael Varane returned against the latter and Maguire came off the bench.

Ten Hag had previously reminded Martinez of the need to be available to return to action swiftly, saying: "[Martinez] has been celebrating in Buenos Aires and I can understand that. It's the highest you can achieve.

"But also, Lisandro Martinez has to accept that on [December 27], the Premier League will go on."

United face Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday, which begins a period of five games in a two-week spell across three competitions.

Related items

  • Erik ten Hag hits back at Jamie Carragher’s criticism of Manchester United Erik ten Hag hits back at Jamie Carragher’s criticism of Manchester United

    Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag has hit back at Jamie Carragher’s criticism of his side’s defending.

    Speaking on Sky Sports on Monday evening, former Liverpool defender Carragher was scathing about United’s display in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Fulham, which ended a five-match winning run that had fuelled some optimism around Old Trafford.

    But Ten Hag accused Carragher of being biased against his side, saying: “First of all, some analysts are very objective in their comments, very good advice, some are very subjective.

    “Jamie Carragher is one of them. From the first moment on he has criticised and now he wants to make his point.

    “Probably in the first half an hour, yeah, he had a point. Fulham in their midfield set-up a little bit surprised us and then we have to find the solutions. After half an hour we found the solutions.

    “I was not pleased with the performance in defending, especially with the left side, how we did the pressing because they came out, especially in the first half an hour, several times on the left side and that can’t happen.

    “And that has everything to do with willingness, spirit and passion. That was in the previous weeks very good from this team and therefore we won football games.

    “I know footballers are not robots, sometimes they have bad days. But it can’t be, it’s unacceptable and we have to do better tomorrow. But in the weeks before we have done very well.”

    Ten Hag also gave a staunch defence of Antony, whose future is the subject of much speculation.

    The United boss did not comment on whether the Brazilian winger could be sold in the summer but insisted he can get back to his best after failing to make the starting line-up in the Premier League this year.

    “I backed him for a long time,” said Ten Hag, who previously managed Antony at Ajax.

    “I know his abilities and he has great abilities. I know from the past, he is unstoppable, no defender can stop him because he’s one of the quickest players in the first 10 yards. When he plays that game, he will perform.

    “I’m very confident he will do it for the future. He is resilient, he is a character and he will fight back. I back him and he now has to wait for his chance and once he is there he has to pick up.”

    United face a crunch week in their season, with Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round clash against Nottingham Forest followed by the Manchester derby at the Etihad on Sunday.

    The FA Cup is the Red Devils’ last chance of silverware, while defeat on Sunday could spell the end of their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

    “When you are unbeaten for January and February and you lose one game – we know our aim is to win every game, at United you have to win every game,” said Ten Hag.

    “Obviously it was a poor performance, a poor defeat, we are aware of this and we want to stay in every competition so, yeah, we have to win tomorrow. But it doesn’t change our approach because that is for every game.

    “So many more defining moments will be coming up. The first game is the most important.”

    Midfielder Casemiro is available for the trip to Forest after being forced off against Fulham with a cut to his head.

  • Dom Rep end failed campaign in 0-3 loss to Argentina as Mexico stun tournament favourites United States Dom Rep end failed campaign in 0-3 loss to Argentina as Mexico stun tournament favourites United States

    Caribbean representative Dominican Republic ended their Concacaf Women's Gold Cup campaign winless, as they went down 0-3 to Argentina, while Mexico stunned tournament favourites United States 2-0, in the final round of Group A fixtures at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, on Monday.

    The results saw Mexico finishing tops in the group on seven points, with United States second on six, while Argentina improved their chances of being one of the two best third-place teams to progress to the quarterfinals, as they end third on four points. Dominican Republic finished without a point and conceded 16 goals.

    Dominican Republic vs Argentina

    With two third place spots up for grabs at that point, both Dominican Republic and Argentina started purposefully and with some intensity as they went in search of their first win.  The fact that Argentina held Mexico to a goalless stalemate to start the tournament, while Dominican Republic lost 0-8 to the same opponent, meant the South Americans were a bit more confident, and they put that on display in the early exchanges.

    They pushed back their Spanish-speaking Caribbean rivals into a defensive posture and fired a few warning shots from a distance, before they inevitably broke the deadlock in the 30th minute. Midfielder Dalila Ippolito fired home from a one-on-one situation with Dominican Republic's goalkeeper Paloma Pena, after the opponents defence failed to take care of possession.

    Argentina doubled their lead in the second half through Celeste Dos Santos's 76th-minute effort, which polished off a tidy one-two combination with Mariana Larroquette.

    And the win was capped by Maricel Pereyra in the 90+4, who fired home from just outside the 18-yard area.

    United States vs Mexico

    The feature contest of the group ended with Mexico securing a historic 2-0 win over four-time World champions United States to take top honours.

    It is the first Mexico win against the United States since 2010, a span of 16 matches. The two goals also snap a streak of 33 straight matches in which the United States kept a clean sheet in Concacaf competitions.

    Both teams gave as good as they got in end-to-end action, with strikers Sophia Smith of United States and Mexico's Maria Sanchez testing the goalkeepers Esthefanny Barreras and Alyssa Naeher, who both proved equal to the task.

    Mexico eventually found the go-ahead goal in the 38th minute when Jaqueline Ovalle capitalized on a defensive error by Becky Sauerbrunn and fired past the hapless Naeher, who was left for dead after advancing off her line.

    Karla Nieto went close to doubling the lead on the stroke of half time, but her well-struck shot from just outside the 18-yard box, rattled the crossbar.

    United States went in search of the elusive equaliser, but their hunt ended fruitless, as Lindsey Horan fired a freekick over the crossbar in the 56th, while Trinity Rodman's 89th-minute effort went just wide of the upright.

    And if that wasn't bad enough, Mayra Pelayo rubbed salt in the United States wounds in the 90+5, when she rifled home a right-footer from outside the box, that lodge in the top right corner, to gift Mexico an historic victory.

     

     
  • Football rumours: Chelsea eye potential replacement for Mauricio Pochettino Football rumours: Chelsea eye potential replacement for Mauricio Pochettino

    What the papers say

    Big changes could be in the pipeline at Chelsea on and off the pitch this summer, according to various reports. The Daily Mail says Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim is a possible replacement for manager Mauricio Pochettino.

    On the field, the club are looking to sell defender Trevoh Chalobah, 24, and Albania forward Armando Broja, 22, according to The Daily Telegraph. England midfielder Conor Gallagher, 24, and Spain left-back Marc Cucurella, 25, could also leave in the summer.

    Summer changes are also expected at Manchester United. The Manchester Evening News says Brazil winger Antony, 24, is among the players they would be prepared to sell.

    Victor Osimhen is eyeing a move to the Premier League, according to The Sun. Arsenal and Chelsea are believed to be heading the race for the Napoli striker, 25, although Manchester United and Paris St Germain are also reportedly  interested.

    Social media round-upPlayers to watch

    Alphonso Davies: Real Madrid have reached agreement to sign the Bayern Munich and Canada left-back, 23, in the summer or next year, according to The Athletic.

    Joao Palhinha: Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Arsenal are chasing the Fulham and Portugal midfielder, 28, reports Football Insider.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.