Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has stated that he is ready to risk losing Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes to suspension when they take on Real Betis on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League.
United are going to the Estadio Benito Villamarín in Seville for the second leg in their Europa League round of 16 tie against LaLiga side Real Betis. They hold a 4 – 1 aggregate lead from the first leg at Old Trafford and will qualify for the quarter finals of the competition as it stands, with another win, a draw or with a two goal margin loss.
This will bring them one step closer to a first European trophy since 2017, when José Mourinho led them to the Europa League title. Should they end up winning, it will be their third European title since the turn of the millennium.
In essence, it is a very important title for the club who are trying to find their feet once again in English football and in European football. For this reason, manager Erik ten Hag is ready to risk it all to see that his side gets to the quarter finals.
The Dutchman stated this in press conference before the match when asked if he will deploy Fernandes and Casemiro in the game.
Both midfielders have been pivotal to United’s season so far but are only one yellow card from missing the Europa League quarter finals. The former Ajax Amsterdam manager stated matter-of-factly that he will deploy them as his tactical analysis demands it and instruct them to go all out to secure the quarter final ticket, even at the risk of missing the game.
“They will play both because it’s a very good opponent,” ten Hag told the press conference on Wednesday. “Last week we had a good result but you need your best players, we need a result, we need a win.”
The United boss was also asked about the fitness issues in his squad. Antony will not participate in the second leg and youngster Alejandro Garnacho is out injured.
The Argentine talent is the third United player to deal with a serious injury this season after Eriksen and Donny Van De Beek.
“It will take weeks so it’s a serious injury,” added the United boss. “A serious injury once again after Christian Eriksen. “He will be back for the end of the season.
“He has to deal with it, deal with the setback and be back for the end of the season. We can win a lot so he has to be back ready as soon as possible.”
The injuries and suspensions in his squad has only let the manager name his first choice XI in one game since he took over the club, and he spoke on the issue while discussing the fitness issues in his side.
“When you see all season we had some setbacks, every time we dealt with it,” Ten Hag said. “It’s about the players who are available and every time there’s a team on the pitch who deals with it.
“In one game we had the squad available totally and I can pick my team for the tactical perfect approach and it was against Man City at home this season and every other time it is one player suspended, injured or illness.
“We have to deal with it well but Arsenal all the time their squad is totally available.”