Ten Hag says Martinez needs to focus on PL return after World Cup win

Lisandro Martinez

Mueez Ajao

– Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has told Lisandro Martinez to be ready for the restart of the Premier League despite his World Cup celebrations.

– Martinez returned to Argentina with the rest of the squad following victory over France in Qatar but Ten Hag has reminded the centre-back that he will be needed against Nottingham Forest on Dec. 27.

Lisandro Martinez

– “I can understand that it’s very emotional,” Ten Hag said.

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– “Winning the World Cup for your country is the highest you can be. But also Martinez has to accept that on the 27th the Premier League comes back.”

– United will also assess Raphael Varane ahead of Forest’s visit to Old Trafford. Varane was also given a break after the World Cup final, where France lost in a shoot-out following a 3-3 draw at Lusail Stadium.

– “Varane of course is disappointed but can also be proud of being in the final and all that he has achieved in his career already is massive, as a team and a player,” Ten Hag added.

– “To win so many trophies. He can still be proud. Getting to the final is a massive achievement. His nation were so close.”

– Ten Hag was able to pick five of his World Cup players for the Carabao Cup fourth round tie against Burnley on Wednesday with another four on the bench.

– Harry Maguire was ruled out because of illness while Jadon Sancho is unlikely to return against Forest having been granted time away from the club.

– “We all know the restart was five or six days after the World Cup final,” Ten Hag said.

– “Everyone has to be ready and accept it. The manager and coaching staff of course, but also the players — they have to accept it. They want trophies.

– “We spoke about the tough competition and we have to be ready for it and deal with it, do it smart and hopefully get the right performance and results.”

– Meanwhile, Ten Hag said he is aware that his club’s excessive spending in the close season transfer window means there is pressure to secure a top-four finish this term.

– United spent more than £200 million to bring in Antony and Casemiro from Ajax Amsterdam and Real Madrid respectively, as well as Martinez and full-back Tyrell Malacia.

– “I accept how it is, I accept that pressure,” Ten Hag said. “But also for the manager of Chelsea and of Newcastle United, those clubs who have invested a lot in their squad.

– “It’s big pressure for all of us to get into the top four. We want to be in the top four and fighting for trophies that’s our aim.”

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