Erik ten Hag admitted his first-choice centre-backs Raphaël Varane and Lisandro Martínez may be ruled out of Manchester United’s next two games due to injuries suffered in Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final first leg with Sevilla.
The second of the matches is Thursday’s return in Spain, while the first is Sunday’s Premier League trip to Nottingham Forest. With Bruno Fernandes’ booking in the 2-2 draw ruling him out of the crucial second leg United suffered what Ten Hag described as “bad day” after Marcel Sabitzer’s two first-half strikes were levelled by late own goals from Tyrell Malacia and Harry Maguire.
Varane was taken off at half-time for an unspecified injury, while Martínez was taken off on a stretcher after 86 minutes with what appeared to be a foot problem. Ten Hag was asked if there was concern he could be without his preferred central defenders at Forest and Sevilla.
“It could be,” he said. “I think he [Martínez] will not play on Sunday, it looks like that but I can’t say what the diagnosis is and I prefer to wait and then we are clear and know exactly what it is. I have spoken with him, he is OK, he is calm.
“We have very good replacements with Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelöf and Luke Shaw, we have players who can replace them but of course it is a miss.”
The Dutchman was asked if the injured Marcus Rashford could be fit again for Sevilla. “There is a chance but I can’t confirm it at the moment,” he said.
On 62 minutes Ten Hag made a triple substitution, taking off the impressive Anthony Martial and Fernandes, plus Jadon Sancho, before later removing Antony. He denied this was why United let the two-goal lead slip.
“No, but I had to make them, there was no other way. Rapha was injured so I had to make [that one],” he said. “Anthony Martial – it was his first start after a long period so we had to make it around the 60 minutes. Then Bruno – I got the warnings from the refs he was short before his second booking and the same for Antony, so I had to make the subs, I had no choice.
“We get the injury to Licha [Martínez]- not good. But both goals are really unlucky, two deflected. What can you do? Sometimes you have bad days and bad luck. Tonight was not our night.”