Man Utd star makes biggest Erik ten Hag problem clear with public revelation | Football | Sport

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Manchester United winger Amad Diallo has hailed Lisandro Martinez as the hardest team-mate to face in training because he treats every session like the “Champions League final”. The star centre-back’s absence for most of the season amid widespread injury problems throughout the squad has undoubtedly contributed to Erik ten Hag’s struggles.

Martinez was a crucial cog in last term’s winning machine after Ten Hag splashed £57million to beat Arsenal to his signature and bring him to Old Trafford from Ajax.

The 26-year-old made 45 appearances across the campaign, helping United finish third in the Premier League and lift the Carabao Cup.

But he has managed just 10 games this season, having suffered a recurrence of the foot injury that ended his maiden campaign prematurely before damaging the medial collateral ligament in his knee.

Martinez played in six outings at the start of the campaign before undergoing a second foot surgery in 2023.

He returned after four months to help United draw against Tottenham Hotspur and beat Wolves, Newport County and West Ham United.

But in the 3-0 win over the Hammers at the start of February, a freak collision with Vladimir Coufal ruled Martinez out of action for at least another eight weeks.

Speaking this week, United winger Amad named Martinez as the toughest team-mate to face in training, emphasising the character Ten Hag is missing at Carrington and on the pitch.

He told club media: “Right now? Licha. Lisandro Martinez, yeah. He’s very strong in the training.

“For him, the training is like the Champions League final. He never trains easy. He goes stronger, so it’s harder to train against him.”

Martinez’s absence has been felt as part of a disastrous season in which Ten Hag has been forced to use 21 defensive combinations in 27 Premier League games.

It’s far from ideal for a manager desperate to play out of the back, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia also missing large chunks of the season.

Ten Hag made the blow of losing Martinez for a second time this term no secret after beating West Ham at Old Trafford.

“It doesn’t look good. There is a bad concern. We have to wait for a few days for the diagnosis,” Ten Hag explained.

“He is very sad, very disappointed. We all feel really with him. First of all, it is a personal disaster when it is really bad, but also for the team, it is really bad because he definitely brings us a lot.”



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