Ten Hag: In my two years here I have had a fully fit squad once

Erik ten Hag rued Manchester United’s injury issues this season following a 1-0 loss to Arsenal at Old Trafford. 

Jonny Evans and Casemiro starting at centre-back for consecutive games and a bench consisting of six youth players emphasised the injury crisis at United. They have had 35 injuries to contend with this season and it feels like it has become an afterthought given how poor United have been on the pitch. 

Even Bruno Fernandes, who has been a mainstay in United’s team since joining the club back in 2020, has been out for the last two games after previously missing just one game through injury. 

Ten Hag was quick to point out the injury issues at the club and said he has only been able to call upon a fully fit squad once since he joined the club. 

He said: “We can face the fans,” Ten Hag told Sky Sports. “On Monday, we definitely couldn’t face them, but you can see the fans are behind us. Today, we gave it back to them. That should be the standard. 

“Attitude always starts with the right attitude. That’s what we have to build during the week. Matchday, you have to be spot on. Today we did. When you’re missing seven starting players, we are competitive with one of the best teams in the league. 

“The fans understand where they are. If we have so many injuries, especially in key areas, you don’t get what you deserve. The fans are behind us, that’s why they are with us. We are United. We have a strong bond and hopefully we can pay them back in the future.” 

On the attitude being questioned, he added: “Maybe at Palace, but these are human beings. Once in three months you may not have the right attitude. Monday we answered to that, but this team always has a good spirit. I can only be happy. Big compliment to this team. 

“We have problems, the problems cost us results. But I don’t know where we should be when we have all the players on board. If you have the players on board, you get more points. Especially in the backline, we concede a lot of chances and a lot of goals. Last season, we had the most clean sheets in the Premier League.” 

Asked in the press conference afterwards whether he felt he could have done more himself this season, Ten Hag answered: “Any manager can always do better. But I have been two years here and only one time have I had all my players. You cannot progress a team like that. Particularly in certain key areas, so many injuries, it is like swimming with your hands [tied behind] your back. 

“You have to keep your head up above the water level. That is what we are trying to do. Still, we are in a cup final. That is good. But to progress it you need fit players. You see that with our opponent today, they had only one player not 100 per cent. We had so many.”

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