Lisandro Martinez struck by fresh injury as Erik ten Hag dealt huge double blow

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Manchester United will be without Lisandro Martinez for another month after the centre-back suffered an injury setback during training this week. Erik ten Hag has been dealt a double defensive blow as United’s season hangs by a thread, with Victor Lindelof also sidelined for a similar period.

Lindelof piled on Ten Hag’s injury frustrations during Saturday’s dismal 1-1 draw against Brentford after Harry Maguire replaced Raphael Varane at half-time at the Gtech Community Stadium.

Martinez took the Sweden international’s place in the 69th minute after he pulled up with a hamstring problem while the score was locked at 0-0.

It was Martinez’s first appearance since early February. He had been ruled out for another eight weeks with a new knee injury after missing three months earlier in the season.

United have confirmed that the 26-year-old will now be unavailable for another few games alongside Lindelof due to a calf strain suffered in training.

Ten Hag opted to introduce Martinez against Brentford despite the fact that teenager Willy Kambwala represented an option from his bench.

The World Cup winner’s latest setback won’t simmer criticism of the Dutchman’s fitness management this term, on top of scepticism over his style of play and authority over the dressing room.

However, there can be no disputing that a horrendous slice of fortune has struck Ten Hag and United throughout his problematic second season in charge.

The Red Devils have now suffered 53 separate cases of injury or illness that have caused one of Ten Hag’s players to miss a game, undoubtedly impacting performances.

Varane’s fitness is unknown after his withdrawal against Brentford. After the game, the 30-year-old informed reporters in the mixed zone that is “wasn’t too bad”.

His absence from United’s update suggests that he will be available for Thursday’s trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea. Ten Hag will clarify his status in Wednesday’s press conference.

Jonny Evans missed the trip to west London at the weekend after sitting out Northern Ireland duty during the international break. He could return to the frame if he is fit enough.

Harry Maguire is now almost certain to start against Chelsea and when Liverpool visit Old Trafford in a crunch Premier League fixture on Sunday.

There will be deeper concerns over Martinez, though. He hasn’t had a prolonged run of fitness since suffering a metatarsal injury in April 2023 that required surgery and ruled him out of the end of last season.

With United expected to target at least one centre-back in the summer transfer window, uncertainty over Martinez could prompt the club to try and sign two.

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