- Key defender Lisandro Martinez has been injured for almost the entire season
- Casemiro, Christian Eriksen and Luke Shaw have also struggled with injuries
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Erik ten Hag has blamed Manchester United’s alarming inconsistency this season on the club’s persistent injury problems.
United slumped to a lame defeat at home to Bournemouth on Saturday, three days after outclassing Chelsea at Old Trafford.
It has been the story of the club’s season but Ten Hag believes injuries have been the main reason behind United’s erratic form.
Key defender Lisandro Martinez has been out for almost the entire campaign so far after needing a second operation on his foot, while Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia have been the other long-term absentees.
Mason Mount has had an injury-plagued start to his Old Trafford career following a £60million summer move from Chelsea, and a number of other players have been sidelined in the opening months of the season.
Man United boss Erik ten Hag believes injuries have contributed to his side’s inconsistency
Lisandro Martinez has been a key absentee at the heart of Manchester United’s defence
Summer signing Mason Mount has had an injury plagued start to his Man United career
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Asked why his team have been so inconsistent after winning the Carabao Cup and finishing third last term, Ten Hag said: ‘We had a regular team, not so many changes, especially in our backline. We had a long time a regular formation and that helps you.
‘You get the routines in and we have to wait for that. Until that moment we deal with it. Every team has to deal with it, it is not only us, when we get back to a regular place we will win games and get better.
‘We have to be tough if we want to do it every third day. We are not the only team. I see inconsistencies from all teams in the Premier League. Players are not robots. But the team who can deal with it best will go most far.’
Scott McTominay echoed his manager’s thoughts on the demands of the Premier League which have seen a number of the top clubs in erratic form this season.
‘We know the inconsistencies we’ve had, we’re not naive to that,’ said McTominay. ‘We’ve spoke about it as a group. The schedule is relentless. We can’t blame it on the fixture backlog, but we have to come together and figure out why we’re inconsistent. The boys are doing everything they can to contribute and give their best when you get on the pitch.’
United face a make or break Champions League tie against Bayern Munich at Old Trafford on Tuesday night when they have to beat the Germans and hope that Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen draw the other tie to go through.
It’s a daunting challenge against a Bayern side who are unbeaten in 39 group games going back to September 2017. Thomas Tuchel’s team were held to a goalless draw by FC Copenhagen last time out, but Bayern have not drawn back-to-back games since 2009 and not failed to score for two matches in a row since 2004.
Man United’s heavy 3-0 defeat against Bournemouth came days after a 2-1 win over Chelsea
Man United must beat Bayern Munich on Tuesday to stand a chance of reaching the Champions League knock-out stage
Even so, Ten Hag is confident that his players can secure only their second win of the Group A campaign to give themselves a chance of going through.
‘We think positive,’ he said. ‘We know what to do. We have to win to stay in Europe, it’s about that. We will prepare the team with that feeling, with that belief. When we are at our best, we can do it.
‘We have the opportunity and we want to stay in Europe. If we are in the right spirit, we are able to beat any opponent. I know this team can perform really high levels. I know we can do it, it starts with the right attitude.’
Source: Daily Mail Online