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Lisandro Martinez injury moves Erik ten Hag further away from the thing he needs most at Man United

Manchester United have endured far too many injuries this season, leaving fans wondering what could have been if a fully-fit squad was available.

The backline has been hit hardest with Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw, Jonny Evans, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire all spending time on the sidelines.

Yes, every team has injuries throughout the course of a campaign. However, the constant injury problems for key players like Shaw and Martinez are becoming difficult to ignore.

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Defenders not only play a key role in preventing goals, they also have a massive impact in attack through forward runs and positive passing. It’s no wonder Ten Hag’s side have struggled for goals at times this season given the impact the likes of Shaw and Martinez have on their build-up play.

Back in October, Ten Hag claimed it was impossible to make United play like his Ajax team, who played an expansive, possession-based brand of football which was easy on the eye.

Ten Hag has struggled to implement his preferred playing style at Old Trafford, but is it solely down to players being in the treatment room at Carrington?

The signing of Andre Onana in the summer explained how Ten Hag wanted to play. The Cameroon international is solid with his feet and can drill long-range passes to his teammates.

Adding Rasmus Hojlund in the summer gave United a focal point, suggesting Ten Hag was open to playing a more direct brand of football rather than a slow build-up approach. Hojlund was injured when he signed last summer and he was sidelined with a knock just as he was starting to find some form.

Mason Mount