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Erik ten Hag reveals why Anthony Martial did not start for Manchester United

Erik ten Hag reveals why Anthony Martial did not start for Manchester United

According to manager Erik ten Hag, Anthony Martial did not start for  Manchester United against Brentford because he is still not “game-fit.”

On Sunday, Martial made his first United appearance in 78 days as a second-half substitute in a 2-0 loss at Newcastle. He was widely expected to replace Wout Weghorst in the starting lineup against Brentford.

After 19 consecutive starts, Weghorst was replaced by Jadon Sancho, and Marcus Rashford moved into the center forward position. Against Brentford, Rashford scored the lone goal, and Martial entered the game in the 70th minute.

Martial, 27, has only started nine times during a season in which he has suffered five separate injuries and played in 16 of Manchester United’s 48 matches. Since January 2021, the Frenchman has not completed 90 minutes for United.

“No, otherwise he was an option but I don’t think in this moment he is game fit enough to have a start,” Ten Hag replied when asked why Martial was on the bench. “And there is also prevention.

“Obviously, when you see Anthony Martial’s record over the last years, you have to be really careful to plan it. So I don’t want to take that risk because I know when he is on the pitch he has a great impact on our performance.”

Ten Hag is optimistic that Martial will be able to play alongside Rashford, who scored his 28th club goal of the season against Brentford to propel United back into the top four.

Sancho started on the left, where Rashford has spent the majority of this season, and Ten Hag is looking forward to the trio of attackers in their twenties combining more often in the coming weeks.

“I think also you can take in that discussion, that debate, Jadon Sancho,” Ten Hag added. “But I’m sure when they are three or four on the pitch we have a very good frontline.

“A lot of creativity, a lot of intelligence, a lot of pace, a lot of togetherness, I think then we create more, we will have more of a threat. And the balance of that frontline will be good.

“But obviously you have to play more together. So happy it looks like he (Martial)’s back and hopefully he stays fit until the end of the season and we can play him.

“But we have seen with others we have results, we proved that, that we are there and Anthony Martial is often not available but still we are there.”

Erik ten Hag reveals why Anthony Martial did not start for Manchester United

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