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  • Erik Ten Hag: Man Utd Injury Crisis The Worst I'Ve Seen In Years

Erik ten Hag: Man Utd injury crisis the worst I've seen in 10 years

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag admits he has never experienced a worse injury crisis, after Harry Maguire was also added to the list of absentees.

A positive first season in charge has been followed by a second to forget, with the side out of Europe before Christmas and already unable to qualify for the Champions League next term.

FA Cup glory against neighbours Manchester City could yet see a difficult campaign end on a high, but availability over the final few weeks could hamper those chances.

United have been beset by injuries this term, with Maguire becoming the 62nd case of injury or illness this season after sustaining a muscle complaint in training ahead of Monday's trip to Crystal Palace.

"For over 10 years I am managing, I never had this experience," Ten Hag said speaking before the England defender's setback.

"So huge, so many injury issues, so I trust all my experience, it can happen once in 10 years.

"Hopefully now I have to wait another 10 to have so many injuries to deal with."

United announced Maguire's injury on the eve of the trip to Selhurst Park and expect the muscle issue set to rule him out for the rest of the Premier League season.

The 31-year-old has a chance of making the FA Cup final and should be fine for England at Euro 2024, but this latest issue is a blow for a side that continues to deal with defensive issues.

Maguire joins fellow centre-backs Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Victor Lindelof and Willy Kambwala on the sidelines, meaning Jonny Evans may have to start on his return from injury issues of his own.

Such problems have destabilised United this season and highlighted to Ten Hag that United need to build a bigger squad replete with players capable of dealing with the stresses of playing for the club.

The Dutchman said: "That is one of the issues in constructing the squad where we have to improve, to do things better, to construct a squad where we have more depth."

Pushed on the mental attributes he wants in new recruits, Ten Hag added: "I think every manager wants players with winning attitudes, great mentality, big personalities to perform under stress.

"That is what every manager is looking for but, what the truth is, in this club it is extremely important to perform under stress."

Bruno Fernandes epitomises the kind of mentality, skill and robustness needed to succeed at Old Trafford, but he too is a doubt for Monday's match.

The United skipper, who Ten Hag "definitely" expects to see out his contract until at least 2026, is the most successful signing of recent years.

There is plenty of competition for the least effective, with Jadon Sancho, signed from Borussia Dortmund in 2021 for £73million, among those right now.

The 24-year-old was banished from the first-team in September after claiming he had been made a "scapegoat" but has impressed back on loan at his former club.

Ten Hag says the loan has been a win-win, highlighting the "high value" of a player that United have stayed in close contact with.

"We are close in that process," he said. "We're visiting games, not only Wednesday.

"We visit, I would not say all the games, but we have seen more games from Dortmund where Jadon was performing there.

"We also had a visit with him, we had a talk with him during his stay there, so we will keep going with this process. We will continually be in contact and communicate with him."

Asked if he wants an apology from Sancho, the United boss said: "There was a conflict and let's first finish the season - he is not here now - so stay away from this issue now because it's not important.

"He has the return of the (Champions League) semi-final. I think for them also in the league it is not going that well for them and we have four important games in the league and the FA Cup final.

"So, that is the issue and the focus point in this moment and then we will see in the summer what's going to happen."

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