Erik ten Hag is not concerned by Wout Weghorst's lack of goals since joining Manchester United on loan as he believes the striker is helping to get more out of other players.

Weghorst has started all six of United's matches since arriving from Burnley last month but has scored only once, in the 3-0 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg win at Nottingham Forest.

The 30-year-old has also yet to assist a goal in his 439 minutes on the field and was substituted off shortly before the hour mark in Saturday's 2-1 league win over Crystal Palace.

However, United have scored 13 goals across the six games Weghorst has played in, winning four of those, and he has received the backing of manager Ten Hag.

"He is the one who makes players around him play better," Ten Hag said ahead of Thursday's Premier League meeting with Leeds United.

"As a team we have to work better to anticipate his movements because his movements are good, and quite a lot of times he was close [to scoring]. 

"He had many good actions and already a lot of good contributions to our results. He will score, but in the meantime he will do the other stuff, and do it good."

Weghorst has an expected goals (xG) value of 1.66 since making his debut against Crystal Palace on January 18, which is the fourth most of any United player across that time.

By comparison, United team-mate Marcus Rashford has scored three goals from an xG of 1.98 in that period.

"It is not just about scoring as an individual but scoring from the team," Ten Hag added. "The team has to win. He is doing a very good job at this moment in several aspects."

Weghorst is set to start against Leeds – the first of two league meetings between the sides in the space of four days – as Anthony Martial is once again ruled out with a hip injury.

Martial has not played a full 90 minutes for United in the Premier League since January 2021 against Sheffield United and has started only six games in the competition this term.

Ten Hag has been impressed by what he has seen from Martial, though, and insists the France international is working hard to return to full fitness.

"He is not always available, but also I see the other side when he is available," Ten Hag said. 

"He was never 100 per cent this season but he had a big impact every time he is available, even when he is at 80, 85, 90 per cent.

"I think Anthony Martial is the player who has spent the most hours at Carrington this season, to return to recover, to get back, it is really so a pity for him that he is disappointed.

"He's not always available and we want him to be always available as that will improve our game and because routines can't become routines when you're not always available."

United are unbeaten in their past 17 home league games against Leeds, stretching back to a 1-0 loss in February 1981.

Life is good at Manchester United right now – and it might be about to get better.

Erik ten Hag has guided United to third in the Premier League, perhaps still in title contention, while they will face Newcastle United in the EFL Cup final.

Rivals Manchester City and Liverpool are facing various crises, and United's ambitions moving forward could be boosted by a lucrative takeover.

After making only loan signings in January as the Glazer family consider selling up, the outlook at Old Trafford might be about to change entirely.

TOP STORY – QATARI-BACKED MAN UTD BID DUE IN DAYS

According to the Daily Mail, a group of Qatari investors plan to buy United and give manager Ten Hag "the financial backing to lead the club back to the top".

The Glazers set a deadline of mid-February for bids, and an offer from the group is expected in the coming days.

The report says the group are confident their bid would "blow the competition out of the water".

This interest in United follows on the back of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with the investors eager to secure ownership of "the crown jewels" of the footballing world.

ROUND-UP

– The Telegraph is reporting Manchester City's pursuit of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham is at risk of being torpedoed by their potential financial breaches.

– According to Mundo Deportivo, Cristiano Ronaldo's team Al Nassr have offered 34-year-old Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets a contract worth €18million per season.

Manchester United and Liverpool will both make a run at Eintracht Frankfurt striker Randal Kolo Muani, who impressed for France at the World Cup, per L'Equipe.

– Calciomercato is reporting Juventus will likely allow striker Dusan Vlahovic to leave at the end of the season if they receive a bid in the range of €90m.

– According to the Northern Echo, Newcastle United have made 26-year-old Leicester City midfielder James Maddison a key target.

Erik ten Hag feels bringing back the fear factor for teams coming to Old Trafford is key to restoring Manchester United to their former glories.

Ten Hag's men have rattled off 13 straight victories in home matches, helping United to third in the Premier League while also securing their place in the EFL Cup final and the fifth round of the FA Cup.

United will look to make it 14 consecutive victories at Old Trafford when they host rivals Leeds United on Wednesday, looking to capitalise on Arsenal and Manchester City both losing over the weekend.

Ten Hag was asked about the importance of getting teams to dread facing United in their own backyard, to which he replied: "It was one of our aims this season to get that back.

"It's part of the process to restore Manchester United. It's great to have the connection with Old Trafford."

Despite United's impressive home form, Ten Hag wants his team to play with the same confidence and freedom on the road, having won just five of their 11 league games away from Old Trafford this season.

"I think home form is good," he added. "The next step is to have that same personality away as we do at home.

"When we play away we have a lot of fans following us and we can do the same away. Pitches are the same size and it is still 11 against 11. 

"We can grow, we still have steps to make but happy with that as well."

The Red Devils will fancy their chances of picking up another three points against Leeds, who sacked head coach Jesse Marsch on Tuesday with the team winless in seven league games and only outside the relegation zone on goal difference.

Ten Hag acknowledged how important the rivalry was for the two sets of supporters, while also expressing his sympathy for Marsch following the American's dismissal.

"It's the match of the roses," Ten Hag said. "It's definitely a big game in this part of England and a big game for us.

"We have City, we have Liverpool, but as well for our fans this game means so much. Our players are aware of that and will know what to do.

"It's always sad if a manager gets sacked. In general, I don't believe it that you sack a manager and get better results.

"Most of the time it doesn't work. But the pressure is high with decision-makers at football and they turn, but if you see the facts, most of the time it doesn't work out well."

Ten Hag will be without a number of key players for Wednesday, with Scott McTominay, Antony and Anthony Martial all absent with injury while Casemiro will serve the first game of his three-match suspension for grabbing the throat of Will Hughes in the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.

But Ten Hag is expecting victory and says he will not accept any excuses should they not achieve that, adding: "I always have to play with the players who are available and we have a squad.

"We have many good players in our squad who are not playing in the starting XI. 

"After a game, I can't say, 'Casemiro is not there, Anthony Martial is not there'. We have to win. United are capable and we have to win the games no matter who is on the pitch."

Erik ten Hag conceded that Casemiro "crossed the line" as he was sent off in Manchester United's nervy 2-1 Premier League win over Crystal Palace, but the Dutchman believes a number of Eagles players got off lightly.

A Bruno Fernandes penalty and yet another goal from the in-form Marcus Rashford put United 2-0 up, but Casemiro was dismissed following a VAR review after he put his hands around Will Hughes' neck during an altercation between both sets of players, sparked by Jeffrey Schlupp's push on Antony. 

Schlupp then set up a tense finale with a goal 14 minutes from time, but United held on for a 13th straight home win in all competitions – their longest run at Old Trafford since they won 20 in a row between December 2010 and September 2011.

Ten Hag had no complaints with the decision to dismiss Brazil international Casemiro, who will now miss United's next three league games, but the former Ajax boss thought some Palace players, notably Jordan Ayew, should also have been punished. 

"We played a brilliant game and it was a really high level first 70 minutes until the incident took place and then you see this team stands for each other," he said.

"It's such a good spirit in the team and they don't accept when a player from us can be badly injured and that's the way Antony got treated.

"This team sticks together but, of course, you have to control your emotions. But it's really difficult in such a moment and I see two teams fighting each other.

"I see two teams of players crossing the line and then one player gets picked out, gets sent off. And for me, that's not right.

"The player from Crystal Palace takes a big risk with this foul that he gets badly injured by pushing him across the line and you know the pitches here. And then everyone is reacting, Crystal Palace and Manchester United players, and not only Casemiro.

"He [Ayew] was one of the players who did even worse than Casemiro. Casemiro, you freeze the moment, I think within the shot he's crossed the line there, I do definitely. And you have to be consistent as a VAR.

"Players and colleagues are hurting each other that bad like the player last week [Reading's Andy Carroll] did against Christian Eriksen and the player from Crystal Palace [Schlupp]; he started this, he took a big risk by injuring Antony."

United are back in action again on Wednesday when Leeds United visit Old Trafford, before the Red Devils travel to Yorkshire for the reverse fixture just four days later. 

Jadon Sancho was flooded with support from team-mates and Premier League rivals after declaring he was "so happy" to be back in action for Manchester United.

The former Borussia Dortmund winger had been absent due to what manager Erik ten Hag described as "circumstances with fitness and mood".

He played his first game since October 22 when he came off the bench in Wednesday's EFL Cup win against Nottingham Forest.

Ten Hag said Sancho's issues had been physical and mental, and the club have been careful not to rush him back. After three months out of action, however, Sancho will be hoping to repay United's patience on the pitch.

He wrote on Instagram: "Wow! Just want to say a massive thank you to everyone for the support I've received over the past few weeks especially to the fans. My focus is to give my all to my team and the club, I'm so happy to be back out on the pitch, see you soon."

Sancho played the last 27 minutes against Forest, receiving a huge ovation from the Old Trafford crowd, and Ten Hag spoke afterwards of the England international's "really high standards" and "great capabilities".

United team-mates Lisandro Martinez, Diogo Dalot and Christian Eriksen sent messages of approval in emoji form, the modern footballer's conversational currency.

There was also backing from Sancho from rivals Manchester City, with Premier League top scorer Erling Haaland sending emojis signalling thankfulness and congratulations as he welcomed his former Dortmund team-mate back to the field.

City's Jack Grealish also sent emojis of applause and love to Sancho, while Aymeric Laporte posted a similar message, and Riyad Mahrez sent a heart and the message: "Welcome back bro."

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior noted his approval with applauding hands and a white heart.

Liverpool's Jordan Henderson, Dortmund's Jude Bellingham, Forest's former United man Jesse Lingard and Roma striker Tammy Abraham added to the groundswell of goodwill, while Sancho's good friend, Newcastle United's Joe Willock, wrote: "Love you bro."

Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United can only benefit from Raphael Varane retiring from international football after his distinguished France career.

The defender announced on Thursday he has pulled the plug on his time with Les Bleus, after winning 93 caps in a 10-year stint, landing World Cup glory in 2018 along the way.

The former Real Madrid centre-back, who joined United 18 months ago, featured in six of France's games at the recent World Cup in Qatar, where they were beaten on penalties by Argentina in the final.

At the age of 29, he could realistically have targeted another World Cup campaign, but Varane decided the time was right to let the new generation have its turn.

United manager Ten Hag praised his player's decision and stressed he had no input into Varane's thought process before the decision was revealed.

"For United, I think it's good news," Ten Hag told a United press conference on Friday.

"With his nation it is incredible what he achieved, big respect, and I am happy he puts all his energy and experience into the team.

"He gave me the information that he was intending to do this. I didn't discuss it with him.

"Rapha is experienced, at an age he makes his own decision about that, I can only express my deep respect for his career until now, but there is a lot to come."

Erik ten Hag's full focus is on maintaining Manchester United's impressive form on the field, with the Dutchman unable to comment on Mason Greenwood's future at the club.

United forward Greenwood had all charges against him dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on Thursday following the "withdrawal of key witnesses".

Greenwood was arrested in January 2022 and due to stand trial in November on accusations of attempted rape, assault and controlling and coercive behaviour.

The 21-year-old said in a widely released statement that he was "relieved" the matter is over, while United said the club will "conduct its own process" before commenting further.

Ten Hag faced the media on Friday ahead of United's Premier League meeting with Crystal Palace and was asked whether he had any comments to make on Greenwood.

"Nothing. I can't add anything. I refer to the statement of the club," Ten Hag said.

Asked if he will be part of the process that decides Greenwood's Old Trafford future, Ten Hag said: "In this moment, I can't give comment about the process."

The former Ajax boss was then questioned on whether he has ever personally met Greenwood, who has been suspended by United since his arrest a little over 12 months ago.

"I can't say anything about it. I refer to the statement of the club and at this moment I can't add anything."

Ten Hag was more willing to discuss next opponents Palace, who held United to a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park prior to the Red Devils' 3-2 loss at Arsenal last time out in the league.

"We have always to focus on the game, no matter what, it is our job," he told reporters. "Two weeks ago we had a bad performance against them.

"I wasn't happy with the performance from us. We only had 90 per cent focus and energy and we dropped two points. 

"[On Saturday] we need a better game, better focus in the game, better conduct in the way of play because we have to beat them – that's quite clear."

United have won just one of their last five league meetings with Palace and are winless in the past two – not since October 1970 have they gone three in a row without a victory in this fixture in the top flight.

However, United have won their past five Premier League home games, which is their best streak since a run of eight between May and December 2017.

Ten Hag's side have won three successive cup games since their most recent league match and bolstered their squad with the loan signing of Marcel Sabitzer this week after Christian Eriksen was ruled out for three months.

The Bayern Munich midfielder has only trained once with his new club, but Ten Hag is ready to use him against Palace on Saturday.

"You can see he's a very fit player. I didn't expect anything else coming from Bayern Munich," he said. "I think he is ready to play.

"I think he's a really smart player and I think we gave him some guidance, but he knows what to do, he knows the job."

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag projected an air of optimism regarding his squad depth after the return of Jadon Sancho and deadline day signing of Marcel Sabitzer.

United were dealt a massive blow earlier this week with the news Christian Eriksen will potentially be out for three months due to an ankle injury caused by a heavy challenge from Reading's Andy Carroll.

The Denmark midfielder had been one of United's key players due to his creativity, as reflected by his haul of nine assists being bettered by no one else in the squad.

United moved quickly to bring in Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich until the end of the season as a replacement, with the Austria international's arrival appearing even more necessary after it emerged Scott McTominay is also facing a short spell out.

Ten Hag was thrilled to get the deal done, and he has high expectations for the former RB Leipzig star, despite him struggling to make much of an impact at Bayern.

"We're really happy with that transfer because we need it after Donny [van de Beek] dropped out, now [Christian] Eriksen for a longer time, for a short time Scott McTominay is not available," Ten Hag told reporters after Wednesday's 2-0 EFL Cup semi-final second-leg win over Nottingham Forest.

"To bring a quality player in on deadline day, that is difficult. We got this opportunity.

"I know the player for a long time from Salzburg, especially Leipzig, [where] he performed fantastic. I expect the same here.

"He has a great attitude, he's the right age. I'm sure this opportunity will motivate him and he will perform for us."

Among the big talking points from the win over Forest was the comeback of Sancho, who had not played for United since October 22.

The England international had been absent due to "circumstances with fitness and mood", which even resulted in him spending a period away from the club.

He played the last 27 minutes on Wednesday, receiving a huge ovation from the Old Trafford crowd, and Ten Hag was thrilled to have such a talented player available again.

"It was great for Jadon and the fans cheered him and gave him a loud applause, and that's great and he sees how the fans like [him], give him this love," the manager continued. "So we are happy with that. We need to keep that connection with the fans and we need that all season.

"He has really high standards, he has great capabilities to contribute to our team and I think, especially now the team is improving, we are playing more in the opponents' half and I think his capabilities are coming more in front.

"He can act on them more because he will have more touches on the ball and that gives him the best platform to perform.

"Most important players enjoy football, which gives energy, that gives them the motivation to act and to perform. I think it was great, the reception from the fans to him, and also that will give him even more a push to continue in the way he's now acting.

"He's just started again, a restart. He's [been] back at Carrington [United's training base] for two weeks, we see that smile and hopefully he can keep that and contribute to the team because when he is in good form, he is really important for us.

"I hope, same as [Anthony] Martial, when you are all the time available and play often together with the players we have now in the midfield and front line, our attacking plan will improve and create more chances, then it's a process players enjoy more and are better motivated to work together."

United are next in action on Sunday when they host Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

Erik ten Hag hopes Manchester United can continue to call upon their full quota of attacking talents after the returns of Jadon Sancho and Antony Martial.

The two attackers were second-half substitutes in Wednesday's 2-0 EFL Cup semi-final second-leg victory against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford, with Martial marking his return from injury with a goal.

With the aforementioned duo, Marcus Rashford, Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst among those for Ten Hag in the attacking third, United have a number of options to call upon.

However, any selection headache it may present is of relief to Ten Hag, who has seen his squad have to cope with several absences so far this season.

"The problem is they were not always available until now. We did a lot of compromises during the season so far," he told Sky Sports.

"I hope we come to a point where they are available. If you want to win trophies, they need to be available because we have so many games.

"You saw today, you can do something from the bench, bring in a different dynamic."

United's triple change on the hour mark resulted in the breakthrough against Forest, with Sancho among them in his first appearance for the club since October.

The England international played a different role than was expected, occupying a more central position than one on the wing, with versatility something Ten Hag is keen to capitalise on.

"I think we've done it before. It's a different dynamic, it's what we intended to do," he explained.

"I know he can play as a number ten as well, he can play as a winger. We mix it up and around.

"That's what I like, but the position has to be occupied and the player has to keep the discipline because otherwise it's going to be a mess."

With a spot in the EFL Cup final secure, where Newcastle United await on February 26, the Red Devils can look ahead to a packed fixture schedule that includes a double-header against Leeds United in the Premier League and a two-legged tie with Barcelona in the Europa League.

However, such a congested fixture list is not of concern to Ten Hag, who welcomed the challenge it presents.

"It's a luxury problem, it's how we want it. It's normal for Manchester United to play every third day, so we're looking forward to that," he added.

"Most players are looking forward to playing games more than training. For us, we must make every game better than the previous one.

"We're looking forward to the final. It's great to go to Wembley, to play Newcastle United, who are a great team, but it's far away for us now.

"We're looking forward to the Premier League on Saturday against Crystal Palace."

Cody Gakpo will come good for Liverpool once he has had time to adapt to the Premier League, according to Wesley Sneijder.

The 23-year-old forward has made five appearances for Jurgen Klopp's men since his January move from PSV without registering a goal or assist, as the Reds have faltered in the league and been eliminated from the FA Cup.

Gakpo recorded nine goals and 12 assists in 14 Eredivisie games this season before moving to Anfield, but has so far been unable to replicate that form in England.

Speaking to Stats Perform, former Netherlands international Sneijder expressed his belief that Gakpo is a "great player" who can help his new team recover their season.

"Of course I'm confident [he can improve at Liverpool]. It's always difficult to change clubs during the season," he said. "You don't get the time to adapt.

"Normally when you start with a new club in the pre-season, you have a longer period to adapt to the system, to adapt to the country, to adapt to everything, and to English football as well.

"Now he arrived and he has to play directly so it's difficult, and we should give him some more time because he's a great player with a lot of progression."

Former Ajax midfielder Sneijder also reserved praise for the job Erik ten Hag has done in his first season as Manchester United head coach after leaving the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

"He started the way that he also started in Holland," he said. "Maybe in the beginning [it was] a little bit difficult for people to understand.

"But he's really clear in his decisions and that's what he has shown with Cristiano [Ronaldo], of course, and with more decisions that he's taken.

"He's really clear, he has his own vision. Now you see that they're doing very well. [Marcus] Rashford is in the best [period] of his life. This is what Ten Hag wants, and that's his quality to take the team and let them play the way he wants.

"Also, he knows how to manage it. He knows how to manage the team by making these decisions.

"So he made the statement in the beginning, and, of course, in the beginning, it was a little bit difficult and different from the rest of the coaches but he did a great job. I hope the best for him and that he will bring United back to the top."

Sneijder also spent two years playing for Real Madrid between 2007 and 2009, and has been impressed by the impact of another for Los Blancos midfielder in the Premier League, with Martin Odegaard playing a key part in Arsenal's title charge this season despite struggling to establish himself at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Yeah, of course [I'm pleased to see how he's doing], because I always believed in his qualities," Sneijder added. "And, of course, Madrid is a difficult club because you don't get that much time there.

"You see now at Arsenal, they really want to build the team and it's going very well so far.

"Also in England, as a midfielder, you have some more space to control the ball and turn in your position than you get in Spain. So you can see that the Premier League really suits him. He's an excellent player and he's showing his qualities every week."

Erik ten Hag wants greater protection for players after Manchester United midfielder Christian Eriksen was injured by an Andy Carroll tackle during their FA Cup fourth round victory on Saturday.

The Denmark international is set to miss the majority of the rest of the season after he was caught by the Reading forward during the Red Devils' 3-1 win at Old Trafford.

Eriksen's lay-off is a major blow for the resurgent United, with the former Tottenham and Inter playmaker a central figure in their revival under Ten Hag.

Speaking ahead of his side's EFL Cup semi-final second leg with Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, the Dutchman was critical of Carroll, but also stressed the need to police such challenges more stringently.

"I'm disappointed about that," he said. "I think football has to set limits [and] restrictions to protect the players, What football wants is the best players being available on the pitch.

"This is a tackle, and the two tackles after, that doesn't belong on the football pitch, because it's a high risk [it will] injure your colleague."

Carroll was dismissed during the Royals' defeat after consecutive yellow cards during the latter stages of the game, with Eriksen subsequently departing Old Trafford on crutches.

Asked if he felt the Reading man was trying to deliberately injure his players, Ten Hag added: "I think I made my view about it. I think it was quite clear what I think, what my thoughts were."

While several of United's Premier League rivals bolstered their January transfer window with high-profile deals, the club took a more low-key approach owing to financial frameworks, though were attempting to add Bayern Munich midfielder Marcel Sabitzer on loan on transfer deadline day.

Ten Hag previously acknowledged he had hoped for greater recruitment, but stressed he understands why United have operated the way they have in the market.

"I think as a manager, you're always trying to find a way to make your team better," he added. "I wouldn't be a good manager, if I didn't make the request.

"If there are opportunities, it is my job in the club to tell the club that there are opportunities to strengthen our squad and our time

"But it's about financial frameworks, [with] what is acceptable, what is reasonable and what we need to fulfil our ambitions. We have to follow it though."

Erik ten Hag wants greater protection for players after Manchester United midfielder Christian Eriksen was injured by an Andy Carroll tackle during their FA Cup fourth round victory on Saturday.

The Denmark international is set to miss the majority of the rest of the season after he was caught by the Reading forward during the Red Devils' 3-1 win at Old Trafford.

Eriksen's layoff is a major blow for the resurgent United, with the former Tottenham and Inter playmaker a central figure in their revival under Ten Hag.

Speaking ahead of his side's EFL Cup semi-final second leg with Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, the Dutchman was critical of Carroll, but also stressed the need to police such challenges more stringently.

"I'm disappointed about that," he said. "I think football has to set limits [and] restrictions to protect the players, What football wants is the best players being available on the pitch.

"This is a tackle, and the two tackles after, that doesn't belong on the football pitch, because it's a high risk [it will] injure your colleague."

Carroll was dismissed during the Royals' defeat after consecutive yellow cards during the latter stages of the game, with Eriksen subsequently departing Old Trafford on crutches.

Asked if he felt the Reading man was trying to deliberately injure his players, Ten Hag added: "I think I made my view about it. I think it was quite clear what I think, what my thoughts were."

While several of United's Premier League rivals bolstered their January transfer window with high-profile deals, the club took a more low-key approach owing to financial frameworks, though were attempting to add Bayern Munich midfielder Marcel Sabitzer on loan on transfer deadline day.

Ten Hag previously acknowledged he had hoped for greater recruitment, but stressed he understands why United have operated the way they have in the market.

"I think as a manager, you're always trying to find a way to make your team better," he added. "I wouldn't be a good manager, if I didn't make the request.

"If there are opportunities, it is my job in the club to tell the club that there are opportunities to strengthen our squad and our time

"But it's about financial frameworks, [with] what is acceptable, what is reasonable and what we need to fulfil our ambitions. We have to follow it though."

Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial will return for Manchester United's EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Nottingham Forest, Erik ten Hag confirmed.

Sancho has not featured for United since October's 1-1 draw against Chelsea due to "circumstances with fitness and mood".

Meanwhile, Martial's last appearance came in the victory over Manchester City at Old Trafford earlier this month when he was withdrawn at half-time.

The pair are back available for United ahead of Wednesday's clash at Old Trafford, where the hosts lead 3-0 from last week's first leg.

"We have some issues," Ten Hag told club media on Tuesday.

"I think tomorrow that Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho will return in the game squad, but Scott McTominay will still be absent.

"I think also the next game [against Crystal Palace] he will be absent. We have to see how that process will go. And for the rest, I think everyone is fit."

Already having one foot in the EFL Cup final at Wembley, United will pay close attention to Tuesday's contest between Newcastle United and Southampton to discover their potential opponents.

United last won the EFL Cup in 2016-17 under Jose Mourinho, a season where the Europa League was also won and a campaign that represents the last time the club won a trophy.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is not expecting to delve into the transfer market on deadline day despite losing Christian Eriksen to injury for three months.

United confirmed on Tuesday that Eriksen is likely to be out at least until late April after sustaining an ankle injury in the FA Cup win over Reading on Saturday.

He was on the receiving end of a heavy tackle from Andy Carroll, who went unpunished before eventually getting sent off for another two forceful challenges.

Losing Eriksen is a major blow for United given his prominence in his first campaign at Old Trafford, with Bruno Fernandes (2,603) the only outfield player to record more minutes on the pitch than the Dane (2,274) for Ten Hag's men this term.

United will suddenly be without one of their chief creators, as Eriksen's 53 key passes is second only to Fernandes (81), and he leads the way for assists with nine.

But Ten Hag is confident he has the options to cope.

"Of course, [Eriksen] is disappointed about [the injury], we are disappointed about it," the manager told reporters ahead of Wednesday's EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Nottingham Forest.

"It happens in top football, you have to deal with it."

He added: "As you said, something coming out on deadline day is difficult and you can't make policy on such bad injuries, but we have players in the midfield department, good players, we also have players who can fill the gap."

With Donny van de Beek out for the season, Eriksen's injury leaves Ten Hag with senior midfield options of Fred, Casemiro, Fernandes and Scott McTominay, while 17-year-old Kobbie Mainoo has made two appearances in cup competitions and been among the substitutes on a handful of occasions in the Premier League.

Zidane Iqbal, a 19-year-old Iraq international, has also been on the bench often this season, though he is yet to make his debut and had reportedly been lined up for a loan move.

Either way, Ten Hag accepts there will have to be a degree of adaptation regardless of who steps up because they will not have the same attributes as the Denmark star.

"I think you can never fill that because every player has their own characteristics and identity, so another player will always fill it in in a different way," he said.

"So, it doesn't mean that you have to be less successful, but it's quite clear that Christian Eriksen, for our squad, brings top quality and he has some specifics that are hard to replace. For instance, his impact in the final third, [with his] final ball."

Brazil midfielder Fred would appear to be the most likely to benefit from Eriksen's absence.

Although the 29-year-old has made only five Premier League starts this term, in total he has played in 17 top-flight games, with Ten Hag seeming to value his energy and tenacity in the second half when others might be tiring.

There is also the added convenience of him regularly playing alongside Casemiro with the Selecao.

"You mentioned already in your first sentence, he's playing together with Casemiro in the Brazilian squad, I would say that's not the worst squad in the world," Ten Hag said with a grin.

"They have so many choices what they can make but they often prefer to play them together. So, that tells something about the quality Fred has and what he can contribute to the team.

"He has done it several times with his performance for instance against Tottenham, for instance against Manchester City.

"When he's coming on [in the] last game [against Reading], he's scoring a goal straight away. He has a lot of qualities. I think they are a really good combination, Casemiro and Fred."

Christian Eriksen will be out of action for up to three months due to the ankle injury he suffered in Saturday's FA Cup win over Reading, Manchester United have confirmed.

Eriksen was on the receiving end of a heavy tackle from Andy Carroll in the second half, with the Reading forward surprisingly avoiding a yellow card.

Carroll was later sent off for another two forceful challenges.

Eriksen walked away from the incident to play on briefly, but he was soon replaced and later spotted leaving Old Trafford on crutches, with a protective boot supporting his left ankle.

United boss Erik ten Hag offered little insight after the match, but following examinations the club believe it is serious enough to potentially rule him out until May.

A statement read: "Manchester United midfielder Christian Eriksen is expected to be out of action for an extended period because of an ankle injury sustained in our Emirates FA Cup victory over Reading on Saturday.

"While investigations are continuing, initial assessments indicate that Eriksen is likely to be out until late April or early May."

The absence of Eriksen will be a major blow to United and Ten Hag, as the Danish midfielder has been a key component of the side since his arrival on a free transfer in pre-season.

Bruno Fernandes (2,603) is the only outfield player to spend more minutes on the pitch than Eriksen (2,274) across all competitions for United this season.

It is a similar story in terms of chances created, with Eriksen's 53 bettered by only Fernandes' 81, highlighting the Dane's creative importance, particularly from set-pieces.

Eriksen ranks highest in the squad for assists (nine), however, three more than Fernandes.

If the 31-year-old does not play again until the start of May, he will have missed at least 18 matches in all competitions.

That total will increase if United progress in the FA Cup, Europa League and EFL Cup – they are just 90 minutes away from the final of the latter after winning 3-0 away to Nottingham Forest in last week's semi-final first leg.

The return game at Old Trafford on Wednesday will be the first match Eriksen misses.

The absence of Eriksen further stretches United's midfield options after Donny van de Beek was ruled out for the season at the start of January.

It leaves Fernandes, Fred, Casemiro and Scott McTominay as their only recognised senior midfielders, potentially requiring 17-year-old Kobbie Mainoo – who has made two cup appearances but is yet to make his Premier League bow – to step up unless they delve into the transfer market before the window closes on Tuesday.

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