Casemiro has been told to quit Manchester United after producing a dire display in Monday's 4-0 loss at Crystal Palace, with Jamie Carragher saying the Brazilian can no longer cut it at the top level.

United produced arguably their worst performance of the season on Monday, with Michael Olise scoring twice as Palace hammered Erik ten Hag's injury-hit side at Selhurst Park.

With Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof all sidelined, Casemiro played as a makeshift centre-back alongside Jonny Evans and endured a nightmare outing. 

The Brazilian was beaten all too easily by Olise for Palace's opener, then was outmuscled by Daniel Munoz for Olise's second goal just after the hour mark.

Carragher believes the time has come for the five-time Champions League winner to step away from the top level, saying a move to MLS or the Saudi Pro League should be on the cards. 

"I think Casemiro should know himself, as an experienced player, that he should only have three games left at a top level," Carragher said in his role as Sky Sports pundit. 

"Then he should say, 'I'm going to head to MLS or Saudi'. His agent or the team around him need to tell him. We're watching one of the greats of the modern time.

"But I always remember something when I retired, a saying I'll always remember, 'leave the football before the football leaves you'. 

"The football's left him at this top level. He needs to call it a day at this level of football and move."

Casemiro has struggled throughout his second season at Old Trafford. Last campaign, the former Real Madrid star won possession 8.68 times per 90 minutes, on average, in the Premier League, also managing 1.44 interceptions per game.

Both of those figures are down this term, with Casemiro only winning possession back 6.14 times and making 0.84 interceptions per 90 minutes. 

Since the turn of the year, meanwhile, United have faced a Premier League-high 317 shots, while only West Ham (36.35), Luton Town (35.78), Burnley (31.88) and Sheffield United (31.6) have allowed opponents to generate more expected goals (xG) than their 31.47.

Ten Hag, however, refused to single out Casemiro for criticism after Monday's match, saying: "You can't put this down to one player, it's a team performance."

Casemiro has been dribbled past on 52 occasions in the Premier League this season, with only eight players being beaten by opponents more often in the competition.

Erik ten Hag has pledged to keep fighting for Champions League qualification but is “realistic” about the difficult task facing injury-hit Manchester United.

After winning the Carabao Cup during a promising first campaign in charge, things have gone downhill this term and the Red Devils’ hopes of returning to the continent’s top competition are fading.

Thursday’s trip to Chelsea is one of nine matches remaining for sixth-placed United, who are 11 points behind Aston Villa in fourth and nine behind Tottenham in what could prove a fifth and final qualification spot.

Saturday’s alarming 1-1 draw at Brentford provided the latest blow to their Champions League hopes in a poor season that has seen Ten Hag’s men ravaged by injuries.

“I have high standards and I would be disappointed if we didn’t qualify,” the United manager said. “I know it will be very difficult because we are not in a good position.

“But we want to win every game, that is the standard we have here among each other. We will keep going and keep believing in those standards. That will be the approach in every game.

“We will keep fighting until the end. I know we are not in a good position. We have to catch up.

“Also I know we have had a lot of problems so I am a realistic man also.


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“In a competition that is so competitive and the teams are so close in terms of levels with each other then also you need the players to be available.”

United have dealt with more than 50 separate injury issues during the campaign, with Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof returning to that list of absentees this week.

Ten Hag says the club “have an idea” why there have been so many issues and that “internally we will deal with it”, but refused to say exactly what that entailed.

The Dutchman did, though, reject suggestions that training intensity was an issue and that he should have brought in a fitness coach, pointing to the need for “very robust players” and the impact of a fixture-packed 18 months.

Ten Hag also suggested some national teams do not look after United’s players as well as others.

“We have national teams, so five times a year you give the players away and you don’t have any impact,” he said.

“It’s not completely true but some national teams we have very good connections and we manage the programmes but there are also others that they do what they want.

“You don’t have anything in hand on what they are doing there.”

The Dutchman’s future is under the spotlight after Ineos took control of football operations at United, who need to learn from the mistakes made at free-spending Chelsea since their Todd Boehly-led takeover.

“I think you need to follow the process,” Ten Hag said. “As I say, we are in a good trend line. There are good young players coming through, they are developing very well in their progress.

“We are in a good way, we are in a good direction and now we have to make the next steps and don’t interrupt this process.”

Mason Mount is in line for his first return to Chelsea since making the summer switch to Old Trafford, fresh from scoring his maiden goal for the club after an injury-hit season.

“I don’t think they wanted to sell him,” Ten Hag said. “They wanted to keep him, they offered him even a new contract many times. But he wants to make this step.

“We were and we are very pleased he is a Man United player because he has great abilities and I’m sure he will contribute and become a big player for Man United.”

Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans look set to bolster Manchester United’s beleaguered backline at Chelsea as Erik ten Hag’s side continue to search for answers to their ongoing injury problems.

The Red Devils have been besieged by issues during a difficult second season for the Dutchman, with the side struggling in the Premier League and dumped out of Europe before Christmas.

United face an uphill battle to qualify for next year’s Champions League and produced one of their worst displays on Saturday at Brentford, where Victor Lindelof became the latest player to pick up a muscle injury.

The Sweden international’s hamstring issue in the 1-1 draw is set to keep him out for at least a month, with his replacement Lisandro Martinez facing a similar absence after sustaining a calf complaint in training.

Those issues compound the absence of fellow defenders Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia, but Ten Hag is hopeful that Varane – who went off at half-time on Saturday – and recently injured Evans will be fit to face Chelsea.

“No more issues – we don’t need (anymore)!” the United manager said ahead of Thursday’s match. “On the frontline and in midfield we are OK, we have options there.

“But in the backline we have a lack of options, but the good thing is back in training this afternoon is Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans. And Harry Maguire was already yesterday back in training.”

Lindelof and Martinez’s setbacks raise further questions about the spate of muscle injuries United have been dealing with this term.

Asked if they are any closer to knowing why they are getting so many issues, Ten Hag said: “Yeah, we have an idea but we will work on that. I think internally we will deal with it.”

Ten Hag rejected the chance to expand on what that “idea” was but was more forthcoming about the strains on top teams right now.

“You can’t prevent,” the United boss said. “You see it’s not only us who’ve had this.

“The standards of the Premier League from an intensity perspective are so high, the overload in the schedule, also international football is so huge.

“We have all internationals in our squad and you see it’s not only us – City, Liverpool and Newcastle have the problems, so there are many other teams.

“In this moment, especially the defending department but in the midfield and frontline the players are available.”

Injuries only offer some mitigation for United’s struggles, though, with the drop-off from the stunning FA Cup quarter-final win against Liverpool to the draw at Brentford setting off alarm bells.

The Bees had an eye-watering 31 shots on Saturday and the Red Devils return to west London on Thursday needing a vastly improved display.

“I am long enough in football to know and also some of you should also understand why such things happen,” Ten Hag said.

“Sometimes you are not playing well but we are Man United and we still have to win. And when you are winning, you can’t give it away like we did.

“That was the biggest disappointment for me but also we have to see the trend-line over a long period, from Christmas on, is positive and we keep going.”

The only positive at Brentford was Mason Mount scoring his first United goal as he continues to build fitness after four months out with a calf issue.

The 25-year-old is now preparing for his first return to Chelsea since leaving in the summer, with Ten Hag keen to avoid rushing him back too soon.

“He’s a fantastic football player but it’s important first that he is getting and keeping fit because he has had three injuries,” he said.

“You see it now with Licha, so another injury, so you want to avoid and we have to do this carefully.

“This is first objective, to keep him fit. Of course in the same we want to use him that he can benefit and contribute to the team like he did on Saturday when he had a big impact.”

Manchester United defenders Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof have been ruled out of action for at least a month with muscle injuries.

Lindelof, 29, came off with a hamstring problem during Saturday’s Premier League match against Brentford and was replaced by Argentinian centre-back Martinez.

However, the club said on Tuesday night the latter has now sustained a calf strain in training and will miss United’s next few games, starting with Thursday’s league match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

United have struggled with injuries during a largely underwhelming campaign.

Martinez, fellow defenders Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw and summer signing Mason Mount are among the other players to spend chunks of the season on the sidelines.

Manchester United did little to turn down the noise surrounding manager Erik Ten Hag’s future after an ultimately dramatic but largely uninspiring 1-1 draw at Brentford.

United looked to have turned a lifeless display into an unlikely three points after Mason Mount climbed off the bench to fire them ahead six minutes into stoppage time.

But Brentford equalised less than three minutes later through Kristoffer Ajer to snatch a point which was the least they deserved.

Ten Hag had shrugged off speculation over his job this week before returning to the scene of his catastrophic second match in charge, when they conceded four goals in the opening 35 minutes.

On the evidence of this underwhelming performance, they have hardly made any progress since that chastening afternoon in August 2022.

In fact, Brentford had enough chances to stage a repeat performance of their 4-0 romp but for the wayward finishing which has made their season a significantly tougher one than the last.

They had 31 attempts at goal and hit the woodwork four times before finally finding the net.

Ivan Toney, fresh from opening his England account against Belgium in midweek, raced through early on but his finish came back off the foot of the post.

The Bees hit the frame of the goal again when Mathias Jorgensen met Mathias Jensen’s cross with a powerful header which clipped the crossbar.

Toney threatened once more when he chased a long clearance and cut inside Victor Lindelof on the edge of the box, only to curl his shot over the top.

Still the chances came and went, with Vitaly Janelt driving across goal and wide, Yoane Wissa’s acrobatic effort flying off target and Keane Lewis-Potter heading straight at Andre Onana.

All United had to show for their limited endeavour in the first half was a Bruno Fernandes shot which fizzed wide and a deflected Marcus Rashford effort saved by Mark Flekken.

United did at least start the second half with a sense of urgency and Fernandes beat the offside trap before squaring for Rasmus Hojlund, whose first-time effort was brilliantly clawed away by Flekken.

Onana then outdid his opposite number with a stunning double save to keep out Yehor Yarmoliuk’s shot and Lewis-Potter’s follow-up.

Wissa came agonisingly close for the hosts when his volley shaved a post before an audacious Toney volley flew just over.

Toney had the ball in the net when he guided in a cross from substitute Bryan Mbeumo, but he was denied by a tight offside decision.

Moments later Mbeumo volleyed against the crossbar and it really did not look like being Brentford’s day when, deep into nine minutes of stoppage time, Casemiro set up Mount to convert at the far post.

But Brentford were not to be denied and when Toney sent the ball across goal in the 99th minute, Ajer was on hand to ensure United left with only a point which will do little for either their Champions League hopes or Ten Hag’s prospects of staying in a job this summer.

Erik Ten Hag is confident Manchester United’s encouraging run will not be derailed by Lisandro Martinez’s knee injury.

The Argentinian defender was forced off in the second half of last weekend’s victory over West Ham and faces two months on the sidelines after suffering ligament damage in his right knee.

It was only Martinez’s fourth game back following a lengthy spell out because of a recurrence of a foot issue, with United winning three of those matches and drawing one.

“It is a setback, of course. Licha was returning, you see his contribution to the team when he is playing, apart from the technical skills also the mentality,” said Ten Hag.

“It is a big setback for Licha, he is very disappointed about it but he is a fighter. He will be back stronger and we think he’ll be back by the end of the season so there are games to play.

“As a squad, we have to replace him and we have very good players in that position who can play there and will play there. As a squad we have to deal with it.”

Raphael Varane replaced Martinez while Victor Lindelof and Jonny Evans are also options for Ten Hag for Sunday’s trip to Aston Villa.

“We have options, how to deal with that position,” said the Dutchman. “We have good centre-halves in our squad. The others are all available, Luke (Shaw) can play also there.

“I’m quite confident we can keep this process going, that others can fulfil that position and also contribute, play in high levels. Those players are experienced and are very good players so it’s up to them now.”

United have been plagued by injury problems this season and Ten Hag revealed Aaron Wan-Bissaka suffered a setback in training on Thursday, while Mason Mount and Tyrell Malacia also remain sidelined.

Martinez attempted to play on after initially going down, but Ten Hag does not believe that had an effect on the eventual diagnosis.

“I don’t think so, but it was his decision,” said the United boss. “He was comfortable to be back on the pitch but after he tried and then I think stopped in the next attack.

“In some situations it is clear and obvious but there is always a grey area and it’s very difficult to see when you are on the sideline. We have the screens and we see it as well, and our medics are over there and they are communicating with the player, but to assess in one or two minutes is impossible.

“You need 24 hours minimum and sometimes even longer, so how can you do this in two minutes?”

Ten Hag, meanwhile, welcomed the news that Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly keen to invest heavily in Old Trafford.

“If that is his view then I would say it expresses the ambition of this club, which is good. But it is not my task in this club to deal with stadium questions, with facilities, my job is to manage the team and to build the squad,” said Ten Hag.

Another three points on Sunday would be a major boost to United’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League and the associated financial injection that would provide.

They go into the clash eight points behind Villa but at a slightly shaky moment for Unai Emery’s team, who have won only one of their last five matches.

“I’ve said to the team from the start of January, every game is now a final,” said Ten Hag.

“That was also our approach to West Ham. We were one point behind them but this is a final, we have to take this challenge, we have to see this as a final. That will be every game from now on so we are already in that mood.”

Victor Lindelof says Manchester United must keep building after Erik ten Hag’s below-par side fought for a fourth narrow win in five Premier League matches.

This has been a difficult second campaign to date for the Dutchman, who oversaw a ninth loss in 17 games in Wednesday’s 4-3 Champions League collapse at Copenhagen.

United rallied at a packed Old Trafford on Saturday and Lindelof’s second-half goal secured a 1-0 win against unfancied Luton, easing pressure before an international break they head into in a surprisingly good spot.

Despite relentless scrutiny and some chastening defeats, no team has won more points over their last five Premier League games than a Red Devils team with plenty of improvements to make.

“We want to score more goals and that’s the next step for us,” Lindelof said.

“Right now the most important thing is the three points and the result.

“But after that we have to keep going, keep working and building and hopefully we can score goals, close the game and not make it difficult for ourselves. But it’s step by step.

“We haven’t been playing at the highest level and we know that. We’ve just got to keep working hard.

“”We’re (not far) off the top four, and it shows that even if we’re not playing at the highest level, we can still get a result.”

All seven of United’s Premier League wins this term have come by a one-goal margin.

Ten Hag believes things will improve when his goal-shy frontmen’s form turns and is happy how others have stepped up in the meantime, with defender Lindelof lashing home just his fourth for the club on Saturday.

“It’s always special and nice to score a goal – I don’t score that many anymore,” the Sweden skipper told MUTV.

“To score the match-winner in front of the Stretford End is a special feeling and I felt that today.

“I saw the ball drop and I was thinking to myself ‘just try and hit it quite hard and quite high’. It was a good goal, I think.

“After the goal we dropped a little bit but, like I said, three points was the most important thing.”

Lindelof and many of his team-mates now turn their attention to international matters with United now not back in action until the trip to Everton on November 26.

Luton return to Premier League matters a day earlier at home to Crystal Palace as Rob Edwards’ promoted side look for a second victory of a season after a pair of promising displays.

“We are disappointed,” the Hatters boss said after a narrow loss at Old Trafford followed a 1-1 home draw with Liverpool.

“Of course, there was hard work in the performance and there was good quality in the second half from us.

“We showed a lot of bravery on the ball, and our fans know we aren’t a team that necessarily dominates on the ball.

“To grow on the ball in one of the best stadiums in the world and in the toughest league in the world is difficult, so the boys showed incredible bravery.

“It was harder to break United down later in the game as they got more players behind the ball, we just needed to find moments in the game at the right times and create some chances.

“I saw a determination, a steel, a grit about us in that first half, we rode our luck once or twice but had a chance of our own through the Carlton (Morris) header and it was important to stay in the game.

“The support we had from the fans was incredible today. It was very important at the beginning that we showed that respect which we did immaculately, and then I could hear them the whole game.

“It made me really proud to be representing this club and I hope everyone has a safe journey home.

“Take a lot from it, be proud of the football club today, but we are greedy and we want more points.”

Erik ten Hag says Manchester United need to start making life easier for themselves after his under-fire side secured a much-needed victory against promoted Luton before the international break.

This has been a chastening second season in the dugout for the Dutchman, with Wednesday’s 4-3 Champions League collapse in Copenhagen making it nine defeats in just 17 matches.

United could ill-afford another shock as Luton came to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, when a mixture of poor finishing and fine goalkeeping by Thomas Kaminski frustrated the hosts.

Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garncho and Marcus Rashford all had good chances, but in the end defender Victor Lindelof was the unlikely match winner in a 1-0 Premier League triumph.

“We could have made life more easy if you score goals, but we create many chances,” boss Ten Hag said.

“First half, I observed four 100 per cent chances. If you get the first then you get the second, it becomes more easy.

“But if you don’t score, then you know they can always drop a ball in the box and you are in trouble.

“So we had to fight to the end and it’s maybe not the prettiest, but I am happy we created many chances.”

Asked if the lack of cutting edge is a confidence issue, Ten Hag said: “I don’t think it is particularly a confidence thing because Rasmus Hojlund scored five goals in the Champions League.

“He came full of confidence into this game and it will come.

“Rashford scored 30 goals last season. Obviously he’s now not scoring but there will come a day he starts scoring again.

“I think the other offensive players like Garnacho, they are capable of scoring goals, so it will come.

“But what is good, we already have 13 different goalscorers in our team, so it expresses the way we want to play football.

“Everyone is attacking, everyone is defending, and also defenders with us can score goals.”

Ten Hag will be hoping this victory did not come at too great a cost, with Hojlund and Christian Eriksen limping off and requiring further assessment once their respective issues have settled down.

The United boss will be hoping the Danish duo are available in a fortnight’s time when they return from the international break with a Premier League trip to Everton.

It is a match Ten Hag will serve a touchline ban for after collecting his third booking of the season in stoppage time.

“So it was about a moment so clear, a throw-in, but it was the second time,” the United manager said.

“I was on top of it. It was so clear and obvious our ball. It was my remark, so therefore I got booked.

“We have a very competent coaching staff and they will take over of course (at Everton).

“Until a certain point I can be involved but, as I say, my coaching staff is very competent.”

United head into November’s break on 21 points from 12 matches – a perhaps surprising return given their poor performances to date.

Ten Hag’s side will be desperate to kick on after the internationals, as will Luton after winning just one match since promotion via the play-offs.

Rob Edwards’ side conceded late on in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool and produced another promising performance at Old Trafford.

“Obviously we’re disappointed not to get anything from the game,” the Town boss said.

“I want to be on more points but in terms of where we are, we are in the fight that we thought we would be in – and everybody probably thought we were going to be in that.

“But we are progressing and improving in the way I hoped.

“I think we learned pretty quickly after the first two games and since then I think we’ve been harder to beat.”

Victor Lindelof secured Manchester United a much-needed win heading into the international break but there is plenty of work to do after Erik ten Hag’s side edged past promoted Luton.

The Dutchman’s second season in the hot-seat began with nine defeats in 17 matches, leading pressure to mount on a side looking to avoid a first ever Old Trafford defeat to the Hatters.

But United bounced back from Wednesday’s Champions League disappointment in Copenhagen as Lindelof’s second-half strike proved enough to secure a 1-0 win against Rob Edwards’ well-drilled side.

It was not the prettiest victory for Ten Hag’s under-fire team but felt key heading into the November internationals – a period when Sir Jim Ratcliffe could finalise a deal to become minority shareholder.

There were protests against the Glazer family before kick-off and chants against the United owners throughout Saturday’s match, which saw Sir Alex Ferguson’s return after his wife’s death last month.

The former United boss will have not enjoyed large periods of the game, but defender Lindelof – in for the injured Jonny Evans – at least ensured a forgettable afternoon ended with three points.

Unfancied Luton were on the backfoot from the outset at Old Trafford, where thankfully there was no kind of grim chants like those heard during last week’s match against Liverpool.

Luton boss Edwards stuck with the same side that impressively secured a 1-1 draw against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds and had to batten down the hatches early doors.

Town goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski was an impressive last line of defence throughout and spread himself well to prevent Rasmus Hojlund scoring his first Premier League goal from a deflected Marcus Rashford cross.

Scott McTominay headed over, Alejandro Garnacho curled over and Gabe Osho deflected a Rashford stinger just wide of his own goal as the one-way traffic continued.

But United’s frustration grew as the half wore on. Chiedozie Ogbene’s shot from distance was easily dealt with, but Andre Onana had to be alert to brilliantly stop a powerful Carlton Morris header in the 36th minute.

The United goalkeeper denied Andros Townsend’s hopeful follow-up and there were groans when dilly-dallying Garnacho was closed out at the other end.

Injured Christian Eriksen had to be replaced by Mason Mount before half-time, with play continuing in much the same way after the break.

Hojlund glanced a Bruno Fernandes free-kick across the face of goal four minutes after the restart and on top United finally made their pressure count in the 59th minute.

Morris prodded a low Fernandes corner clear, but a deflection sent it to Mount and the substitute played it straight onto Rashford on the right-hand side of the box.

The forward took a touch before driving in a ball that was stopped on the edge of the six-yard box, falling nicely for Lindelof to hammer home in front of the Stretford End.

United should have wrapped up a much-needed victory 11 minutes later.

Antony’s introduction in place of Garnacho was met by a smattering of boos but the often ineffective Brazil international did well to slip Rashford in.

The 26-year-old looked well-placed to finish but fired straight at Kaminski – the kind of chance he would have buried last season.

Injured Alfie Doughty had to be replaced as Luton sought a leveller, with Hojlund soon going off with an issue of his own.

United managed the game well in the closing stages – not something they have been particularly known for.

McTominay saw an effort stopped, Diogo Dalot drove over and Fernandes failed with a free-kick. Ten Hag was booked in stoppage time, which ended with home cheers.

Under-pressure Erik ten Hag defended his tactics and his players’ character as Manchester United look to bounce back from a pair of humiliating home defeats.

The misfiring Red Devils are under intense scrutiny after Sunday’s meek 3-0 derby defeat against Manchester City at Old Trafford was compounded against Newcastle.

United lost by the same scoreline as the Carabao Cup holders went out in the fourth round on Wednesday, with their eighth defeat in 15 matches making this the club’s worst start to a campaign since 1962-63.

Defiant Ten Hag said he was a “fighter” immediately afterwards but there have been suggestions that his players lack the same desire to dig themselves out of this current hole, starting with Saturday’s league trip to Fulham.

“That’s not right,” the United said when doubts about his players’ spirit was put to him. “You can’t say that.

“Remember only the fight we showed against Brentford, that (2-1) comeback? If there wasn’t spirit in the dressing room, if there wasn’t characters in the dressing room, you can’t do this.

“I have a good squad and I am convinced of the players in this dressing room.

“These players, we have seen last year, can do a lot better but that is up to me to let them play better.

“I have to take the responsibility to let them play better and I will put every effort in to get this done.”

Ten Hag brushed aside talk of January reinforcements as ownership speculation continues, saying United have already “constructed a good squad” before pointing to their injury issues.

Casemiro has joined the list of absentees after sustaining a hamstring injury against Newcastle that United say will keep him out for several weeks.

Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia are among others already lied low and Victor Lindelof will join them unless he can shake off an illness.

“(Raphael) Varane is ready to play, so he will travel with the squad,” Ten Hag said after the 2018 World Cup winner missed the Newcastle match through illness.

“Victor Lindelof has some illness. We have to see if he is ready for tomorrow.”

Absentees have unbalanced United and led Ten Hag to be more pragmatic than he would like this term.

A lot was expected of the Dutchman tactically when he arrived last year after securing success in style at Ajax, but he said after the City defeat that it was impossible to play the same way.

“I thought the explanation from my point of view was totally wrong,” Ten Hag explained. “But I can’t play like Ajax because I had different players.

“So, I came here with my philosophy based on possession but also to combine it with the DNA of Manchester United and combine it with the players, with the competences, the characters of the players.

“That you combine and I think last year we have seen what that was. I think we played very good football last season.”

Ten Hag said “this season the philosophy is not different” as he gave a full explanation of his approach when it was put to him that onlookers have not seen clearly, if at all, in recent games.

“I don’t want to say that,” the United boss said. “I think that is too strong.

“The intention is clear but definitely it is the case that the execution isn’t there but in the moment with so many changes every game.

“We can’t line up the same line-up two or three games after each other. Every time we have to swap.

“Last season was the same with one player, but now we miss often players in the back four and every time we have to adjust.

“That doesn’t help in your routines. Now also the midfield we have to adjust, missing Casemiro, an important player.

“But I never brought up this team (issue). You know why? We have to win and I don’t want to find excuses if we are not winning.

“We have to be more pragmatic but still we have to win. That is the demand and I don’t walk away from that.”

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag said Victor Lindelof had been “exhausted” but was ready to play in Saturday’s match at Sheffield United after his distressing experience in Belgium earlier in the week.

Lindelof captained the Sweden side whose Euro 2024 qualifier against Belgium in Brussels on Monday was abandoned at half-time after two Swedish fans were shot dead before the game and another injured three miles from the King Baudouin Stadium.

Ten Hag told a press conference on Friday: “A terrible situation, and I feel really sad for the victims, for all the relatives, family, friends of the victims in Brussels. It’s a crazy world.

“Of course Victor, they had a problem, it’s a bad experience. As captain of the Swedish team, he had to stay in front and give statements. But he dealt well with it.

“Of course he’s exhausted after this experience because also he didn’t sleep overnight. He returned, and yesterday he was back in training. He dealt with the situation.

“Our thoughts once again were with Victor, with the victims and the victims’ relatives. Victor has energy and is ready to play this game.”

United head into the match at Bramall Lane amid considerable talk about their ownership situation, with Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim last weekend understood to have ended his attempt to buy the club, while INEOS founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly looking to purchase a 25 per cent stake.

When asked about that situation, Ten Hag said he was “not involved in this”, adding: “Others in the club are dealing with this.

“I am focusing on my team, on the coming block (of games), and I am focusing on the most important priority, the next game – it’s all about that.”

In their last outing before the international break, United – currently 10th in the Premier League table – appeared set for a seventh defeat of the season in all competitions, and third in eight days, before a stoppage-time double from Scott McTominay secured them a 2-1 home win over Brentford.

The visitors had taken the lead in the first half through Mathias Jensen in what was another questionable moment for Andre Onana, the goalkeeper signed from Inter Milan in the summer.

While Ten Hag says Onana has to “step up”, he has reiterated his belief that the Cameroon international will come good and pointed to the example of some of United’s past goalkeepers.

“He knows, we know, he will do much better and as every player who’s coming into the Premier League, you need an integration period, but he has to step up,” Ten Hag said.

“Also, big United keepers like Peter Schmeichel, David De Gea, also they started not too good, and I think for Andre it is good to know a little bit from the history.

“But we live now, we live in the future, and he has to make his future by giving better performances – and he will do, I’m sure.

“He already showed that so many times in big clubs like Barcelona, when he was young, Ajax, Inter Milan, he was in the semi-finals and final of the Champions League. He’s a great player, and I’m sure he will give us performances and I’m sure we will have a lot of joy with him.”

United have Raphael Varane and Sergio Reguilon available for the clash with the bottom-of-the-table Blades after injury lay-offs, and Sofyan Amrabat, despite him not being involved for Morocco during the international break.

Jonny Evans, who sustained a knock while playing for Northern Ireland, also appears to be in contention – but Casemiro has been ruled out by an injury sustained on Brazil duty that Ten Hag has said is “not too bad”.

Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez and Aaron Wan-Bissaka remain sidelined while Jadon Sancho has been training away from the first team, with the club having said that is “pending resolution of a squad discipline issue”.

Asked if there was any change to Sancho’s situation, Ten Hag said: “Everything has been said about it.”

Sweden defender Victor Lindelof has said he was “lost for words for the cruelty and inhumanity” after two fans were shot dead before Monday evening’s Euro 2024 qualifier in Belgium.

The match in Brussels was abandoned at half-time with the score at 1-1 after two Swedish supporters were killed and another injured three miles from the King Baudouin Stadium.

The gunman, reported to be a 45-year-old Tunisian national, was shot dead by police in a Brussels suburb on Tuesday morning.


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A post shared by Victor Lindelöf (@victorlindelof)


Manchester United centre-half Lindelof said on Instagram: “I’m shocked and devastated by the terrible incidents in Brussels with the cold-hearted attacks on our fellow Swedes.

“I’m lost for words for the cruelty and inhumanity, I want to send my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those affected.

“At the same time, my thoughts go out to all the supporters in Belgium last night, no one should ever go to a game of football and feel unsafe when supporting their team.”

The Swedish Football Association on Monday evening urged supporters to stay in the stadium on police advice “for security reasons” and co-operate with the authorities on site.


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A post shared by Sweden Men's National Team. (@swemnt)


Fans were kept in the stadium for more than two hours before a message on the stadium screen asked them to leave “calmly”.

The Sweden men’s national team posted on Instagram on Tuesday: “Swedish football has sadness – Sweden has sadness.

“Yesterday we tragically lost two blue-yellow supporters, on the spot in Brussels to do something that should be obvious – to support our Swedish national teams wearing the blue-yellow national team shirt.

“Our thoughts go out to all loved ones of the victims, who today are forced to wake up to an indescribable sadness.


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“We are also thinking of all your supporters on site in Brussels. We know that you, like us, were afraid and worried. Yet you remained calm and followed the instructions that were called out from the speakers.

“We will never forget those who fell victims of this senseless attack. Take care of each other.”

Tottenham midfielder Dejan Kulusevski linked to the team statement in his Instagram Stories, alongside a broken heart emoji.

The Belgium team said on social media: “We are still devastated by what happened in our capital on Monday.

“We want to thank all the fans and stewards in the stadium for their understanding and support in these difficult circumstances.

“Our thoughts are with the Swedish, we hope everyone gets home safely.”

Sweden manager Janne Andersson said the players had asked for the game to be abandoned when they heard about the shooting.

“I felt it was completely unreal,” he told a press conference. “What kind of world do we live in today? I was supposed to have a good chat with the players but I heard it and almost started crying.

“When the team started talking, we agreed 100 per cent that we didn’t want to play on out of respect for the victims and their families.”

UEFA said “a moment of silence” would be observed at all Tuesday night’s Euro 2024 qualifiers in memory of the victims.

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