Manchester United suffered their 10th loss of the current campaign against Newcastle United on Saturday, a match that highlighted the gulf in class between the two sides at the moment.
Erik ten Hag’s second season in charge has not gone according to plan with the players letting the manager down while his own ideas are not working anymore.
Injuries have not helped matters with the defence struggling the most with the Red Devils conceding the second-most goals in the Champions League group stages, which has meant they are in danger of not qualifying for the knockout stage.
United have missed Lisandro
Lisandro Martinez’s absence has been most keenly felt with the club missing the aggressive presence of the Argentine and his ability to kickstart attacks from the back.
Luke Shaw was played as the centre-back against Newcastle and while he was one of the better performers on the night, he was not as aggressive as the World Cup winner.
The former Ajax star had suffered a recurrence of the same injury that had derailed his previous season and the defender had to undergo yet another operation.
He had made a return during pre-season but since he had not fully recovered, his form suffered as a result, and even though the defender took painkillers to try and play on, it eventually proved to be too much.
Martinez has been spotted back in Carrington, walking comfortably while kicking a football and watching his teammates during training.
But the United coaching team are wary of thrusting him back into action too soon and are prepared to wait until next year even to start playing the 25-year-old.
ETH wary of throwing Lisandro into the deep end too soon
Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has indicated that Ten Hag is aware that the injury was a serious one and that the club is not taking any risks this time concerning his recuperation.
“Lisandro Martínez’s injury is not a normal problem,” the Italian wrote in his CaughtOffside Substack column. “It’s a big setback for the club and so Man United staff are being very careful with the player.
“His recovery is going well and Lisandro is doing good, but he’s not ready yet and the club won’t force anything. They will keep waiting until Martínez feels 100 per cent ready to play football again.”
United fans will be hoping to get Martinez back fully fit so that the Argentina international can try and salvage the campaign to some extent at least.