- Martínez damaged the medial ligament in his right knee in the victory over West Ham
- The Argentine defender will miss at least eight weeks in a major setback for Ten Hag
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Erik ten Hag insists Lisandro Martínez will play again this season despite suffering another long-term injury, and has defended the decision to let the Manchester United defender remain on the pitch after picking up an injury against West Ham on Sunday.
Martínez damaged the medial ligament in his right knee when he buckled under a challenge from Vladimir Coufal in the second half of United’s 3-0 win at Old Trafford.
The Argentine initially continued playing after treatment, but only lasted a couple more minutes before telling the bench to take him off.
United confirmed on Monday that Martínez will be out for at least eight weeks, although he will not require surgery.
It was only his fourth game back after a four-month layoff due to a second operation on the foot fracture suffered towards the end of last season.
Lisandro Martínez faces eight weeks out due to a medial collateral ligament injury
The Argentine defender was injured after getting tangled with Vladimir Coufal during the match
United manager Erik ten Hag is confident Martínez will play again this season
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Ten Hag said: ‘It’s a setback, of course. Licha was returning and you can see her contribution to the team when she is playing. In addition to technical skills, also mentality.
‘It’s a big setback for Licha. He is very disappointed but he is a fighter. He will come back stronger and play at the end of the season. “As a squad we have to replace him and we have players who can play there.”
Ten Hag dismissed suggestions that a decision could have been made earlier to protect Martinez from further injury.
“I don’t think so,” he added. ‘It was Lisandro’s decision. He felt comfortable getting back on the field, but then he tried and stopped on the next attack.
‘Evaluating in one or two minutes was impossible. In some situations it is clear and obvious, but there is always a gray area and it is very difficult to see from the sidelines.
‘We have the screens and we see it too, and our medical staff are there. After a game I can’t tell you. You need a minimum of 24 hours, so how can you tell in two minutes?
United have several central defensive options, including Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Jonny Evans, while left-back Luke Shaw also played in the middle.
Ten Hag would not be interested in the question of offering new contracts to Varane and Evans when their current deals expire in the summer. “We haven’t made the decision yet,” he said.
Concerned teammates surrounded Martínez after the collision with the Hammers defender
Ten Hag remains unconvinced about whether Raphael Varane will receive a contract offer
Meanwhile, the United boss revealed that Aaron Wan-Bissaka had to withdraw from training on Thursday, while Mason Mount and Tyrell Malacia are not yet ready to return.
‘Aaron was training today and then dropped out, so I don’t know at this moment where he is or the diagnosis. Let’s hope it’s not too bad,” Ten Hag said. “Mason and Ty aren’t ready.”