Manchester United 'never' able to start strongest XI due to injuries, Erik ten Hag claims

Erik ten Hag the head coach / manager of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford on September 16, 2023 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has lamented injuries affecting his ability to select his strongest starting XI during his time at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman claims that, since taking over Manchester United at the beginning of the 2022/23 season, he has always had to tinker his line-up due to player unavailability while speaking ahead of the Red Devils' Champions League match against Bayern Munich on Wednesday. 

Manchester United currently have 12 players missing for one reason or another, leaving Ten Hag with a weakened 21-man travelling squad, four of whom are goalkeepers, to take to Germany. 

Luke Shaw of Manchester United controls the ball during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on August 19, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Shaw is a key member of the squad out injured  (Image credit: Getty Images)

In defence is where the real problem lies for Ten Hag ahead of the clash against Bayern, with Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Tyrell Malacia and Harry Maguire all missing the opening Champions League game of the campaign through injury.

Elsewhere in the squad, midfielders Mason Mount, Sofyan Amrabat and Kobbie Mainoo are out, while forwards Jadon Sancho and Antony will also miss the game.

The Manchester United boss is confident of dealing with the issues, however, highlighting his squad's success in previous periods. 

"One thing is true, from the start of last season I don't think I ever started with, in my opinion, the best starting XI," Ten Hag said. "There was always injuries.

Jadon Sancho pictured at Old Trafford ahead of Manchester United's game against Nottingham Forest in August 2023.

Sancho is missing due to disciplinary issues (Image credit: Getty Images)

"We always got results apart from the period we are in now. I have experienced it in the past and managed it. You have to deal with it. I like these situations because you have to handle it and know what to do, and that is focusing on the process.

"The doctors are dealing with the problems. First of all, injuries always come in top football because we are living on the edge. Of course, we analyse why things happen, but we also have to deal with the effects. We have to get the best out of it. We need to make the next step, integrating Rasmus Hojlund and Sergio Reguilon."

Heading into the game under intense pressure following three losses from their opening five Premier League games, Ten Hag believes his side will soon click into gear. 

"No, we don't feel that we need a reset," the United manager added. 

"Absolutely not. We are in a process and what you see is that in parts of games we play very good but then also in parts of games we played below our levels."

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