Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is preparing for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final showdown with Newcastle.
Manchester United have just three players missing as they prepare to lock horns with Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final today. Erik ten Hag is keen to mastermind victory at Wembley as he looks to deliver a trophy at the first time of asking. And his mission in the capital will have to be achieved without Donny van de Beek, Christian Eriksen and Anthony Martial.
Manchester United can pick from essentially a fully fit squad as they look to beat Newcastle and win a trophy for the first time since 2017.
But Van de Beek, Eriksen and Martial won’t be involved during the showdown in the capital.
Van de Beek picked up a serious knee injury last month, during a straightforward United victory over Bournemouth.
It then quickly emerged the Netherlands international, who has struggled for game time even when fit, would be sidelined until the end of the season.
Van de Beek likely wouldn’t have started the match with the Toon anyway, having failed to establish himself since his arrival in 2021.
But, had he been fit, United would have had a creative player to call upon off the bench.
Eriksen is a bigger blow, especially when you consider how he’s impressed since his move from Brentford back in the summer.
The Denmark international had shining on a consistent basis under Ten Hag, while also usually being ahead of Fred in the pecking oder.
But, unfortunately for United, their midfield operator won’t be back until late April or early May.
With Eriksen unavailable for selection, Fred is primed to start against Newcastle instead.
And the Brazil international should be deployed alongside Casemiro, who is now available again after missing United’s last three domestic matches through suspension.
A third player missing for the Red Devils is Martial.
Many expected the France international to leave at the end of last season, particularly after a poor loan spell in La Liga with Sevilla.
But Martial ended up staying and, initially at least, that was a decision that had looked to have paid off.
In the time since, however, injuries have often plagued the forward and prevented him from playing regularly.
Ten Hag confirmed at his pre-match press conference on Friday that, while Martial was nearing a return, the United star wouldn’t be involved.
And while Marcus Rashford is an injury concern, the England international has been named in the matchday squad – suggesting he’ll be involved.
United will be hoping to win a trophy for the first time since 2017 when they step out onto the famous Wembley turf.
And Ten Hag, speaking to Sky Sports before the fixture, admitted he couldn’t wait for the match to get started.
“It’s a great moment I go to Wembley. I think it’s a real theatre to play a game, to play a final,” said the 53-year-old.
“It’s really exciting to go there. And of course if you go there, you want to win and it’s a big day for us.”
Ten Hag also admitted he was ‘proud’ of his players for the way they were helping United rise to the top again.
“Proud. I don’t think it’s the right word. No. Proud I would be of course when we are acting as a team, because you don’t think it’s so normal, you have to work really hard for it,” he said.
“But then you are really proud when you’re winning trophies with a team and you do it in a way the people like, and that the people see there’s a good spirit, there’s a good fight in a team, and they want to play in a proactive way, in a dynamic way.
“And if that, then the fans embrace it. Yeah, that will make me proud. You have to work very hard for it. You have to put a lot of effort in to beat big opponents.
“And so now, for instance, Sunday, another big opponent is facing us, and we have to find a way to win, but it’s not going to be easy.
“And you have to give everything with everything. I mean even a hundred per cent is not enough.
“You have to put in more, so physical, but also as a team, act as a team, and then you have to find the way to win. And if then it happens you are they are so happy, but they know how to get it. They know.
“So the pathway to win, and I’m sure they are the example for many of our players.
“They have Rapha and Casemiro in the team to help to get the right lifestyle, the right attitude to win the trophies.”