Antony, Martial and McTominay unlikely to return before Man Utd's Barcelona trip

By Sports Desk February 10, 2023

Erik ten Hag anticipates Manchester United being without Antony, Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay for at least another week in a key period of the season.

United have played twice already in February and will have another five matches before the end of the month, including a two-legged Europa League tie against Barcelona and the EFL Cup final against Newcastle United.

Injuries have come at a bad time then, with Christian Eriksen out long term, Casemiro suspended and a further trio likely to be missing for at least the next two matches.

United visit Leeds United on Sunday, then Barcelona on Thursday, and Ten Hag was asked if Antony, Martial or McTominay could make the trip to Camp Nou.

"I can't say for 100 per cent, but I don't expect it," he said.

Although Eriksen was injured in a challenge from Reading's Andy Carroll, Ten Hag accepts other issues have occurred as result of a "tough season".

But United have been boosted by Marcus Rashford's stunning form and the return to action of Jadon Sancho, whose midweek goal in the home game against Leeds earned a point.

Sancho has been back in the fold since the start of the month, having previously been absent from any matchday squad since October.

"This is what makes this job so exciting," Ten Hag said of Rashford and Sancho. "It's wonderful to work with young people, to get the best out of them.

"Finally, they have to do it by themselves. But sometimes they need motivation, they need interaction, they need inspiration."

For now, Ten Hag's focus is on getting the best out of his team over this hectic stretch, rather than worrying about the latest talk of a potential European Super League.

"I'm aware of the dynamic, what's going on," Ten Hag said. "If they're coming up with new ideas, I'll have to look at it and make an opinion.

"I'm not aware, because we are playing so many games at this moment. We have to develop this team, we have some problems, some new players to bring in. That's where my focus point is, and it needs all my energy.

"On new European competitions, the people in this club will look at it and inform me if the time is there and the moment is there to make decisions, but the decisions are up to the club.

"I think the current structure [of European football] is good, but there will always be initiatives to make it better, to make the football better.

"That's what life is. People always want to construct better. This is a good thing. If it's in favour of the football, it's always good."

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