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“Nothing to do with midfield” – Erik ten Hag rises to defense of midfield trio

Manager Erik ten Hag says the issues faced by Manchester United are not centred around the midfield trio of Bruno Fernandes (28), Mason Mount (24), and Casemiro (31).

This statement comes ahead of their upcoming Premier League match against Nottingham Forest.

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United, having accumulated three points from two matches, showcased unconvincing performances in their 1-0 victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers and a 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur.

Former United captain and pundit Gary Neville remarked that Ten Hag’s choice to position Mount and Fernandes in advanced roles had placed excessive defensive responsibilities on Casemiro.

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The latter has also faced criticism for perceived fitness shortcomings.

When asked if United’s midfield configuration was contributing to their difficulties, Ten Hag responded to reporters, stating: “You always have to analyse clinically and that assessment isn’t right.”

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“It was about the back and the front. That is why we were so open. Nothing to do with the midfield. We’ve already said that right after the game.

“If you see his numbers, you’ll see Casemiro is fully fit. I don’t have any doubts that (the midfielders) can do it.”

United have been dealt two injury blows in the last week, with Mount and Luke Shaw both being sidelined.

The club’s big-money signing, Rasmus Hojlund, has also been unable to make his debut due to a back injury, with the Danish striker having missed their defeat to Tottenham and win over Wolves.

“Injuries are always disappointing but we can deal with it. Rasmus Hojlund is not available for tomorrow, he came into team training for the first time,” Ten Hag said.

“Next week we expect him to do a full week, so he is very near the squad.”

Shaw’s injury has complicated Ten Hag’s team selection at left back, with backup defender Tyrell Malacia also sidelined due to an injury sustained last season, but the Dutch manager said the club had planned for such a situation.

“(Mason Mount and Luke Shaw) will be absent for some period. Luke will be longer than Mason. Tyrell Malacia will take a few weeks, but we have the solutions in our squad. Definitely,” Ten Hag said.

On Monday, United decided to part ways with Mason Greenwood following an investigation into allegations of attempted rape, with charges against the forward having been dropped in February.

Greenwood said in a statement to British media that he did not do the things he was accused of.

Ten Hag declined to comment on Greenwood, saying: “We are where we want to be as a team.

“I have a lot of work to focus on for the team, so I’m focused on the players I have available.”

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