Home News Erik ten Hag explains bizarre team selection for Manchester derby

Erik ten Hag explains bizarre team selection for Manchester derby

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Erik ten Hag explains bizarre team selection for Manchester derby

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Erik ten Hag has revealed he picked veteran Jonny Evans and makeshift left-back Victor Lindelof in the Manchester derby for “tactical” reasons.

Manchester United head into Sunday’s local showdown with rivals Manchester City six points behind their neighbours with a number of injuries in defence, particularly in the full-back areas.

Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Tyrell Malacia are all sidelined with knocks, while central defender Lisandro Martinez is a long-term absentee. Brazil international Casemiro did not make the matchday squad, with Sofyan Amrabat, Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen starting in central midfield.

It’s in defence where United could suffer most with Evans and Lindelof joined by Harry Maguire and right-back Diogo Dalot. Erling Haaland, Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez, Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish all start for City.

Harry Maguire, Jonny Evans

Evans starts alongside Maguire in defence / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

World Cup winner Raphael Varane played the full game against Kobenhavn in the Champions League in midweek but only makes the bench, while loan arrival Sergio Reguilon is left out with Lindelof lumped in at left-back.

Asked by MUTV about the inclusions of Evans and Lindelof, Ten Hag said: “It’s tactical. It’s not the argument to make their selection [their experience], it’s tactical and that’s the answer.”

On Eriksen’s start, he added: “He’s often shown from the very start that he can be very good, for example the Arsenal game. You always think that he can be decisive, his distribution and calmness on the ball, he gives options and that’s what you need against a good side like City who press strongly.”

United edged City at Old Trafford last season and have enjoyed a run of three victories on the bounce in all competitions. However, they face a City side that has also returned to winning ways by beating Brighton and Young Boys.

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