Ten Hag: I told Martinez to be ready for PL restart

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has told Lisandro Martinez to be ready for the restart of the Premier League despite his World Cup celebrations.

Martinez returned to Argentina with the rest of the squad following victory over France in Qatar but Ten Hag has reminded the centre-back that he will be needed against Nottingham Forest on Dec. 27.

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“I can understand that it’s very emotional,” Ten Hag said.

“Winning the World Cup for your country is the highest you can be. But also Martinez has to accept that on the 27th the Premier League comes back.”

United will also assess Raphael Varane ahead of Forest’s visit to Old Trafford. Varane was also given a break after the World Cup final, where France lost in a shoot-out following a 3-3 draw at Lusail Stadium.

“Varane of course is disappointed but can also be proud of being in the final and all that he has achieved in his career already is massive, as a team and a player,” Ten Hag added.

“To win so many trophies. He can still be proud. Getting to the final is a massive achievement. His nation were so close.”

Ten Hag was able to pick five of his World Cup players for the Carabao Cup fourth round tie against Burnley on Wednesday with another four on the bench.

Harry Maguire was ruled out because of illness while Jadon Sancho is unlikely to return against Forest having been granted time away from the club.

“We all know the restart was five or six days after the World Cup final,” Ten Hag said.

“Everyone has to be ready and accept it. The manager and coaching staff of course, but also the players — they have to accept it. They want trophies.

“We spoke about the tough competition and we have to be ready for it and deal with it, do it smart and hopefully get the right performance and results.”

Meanwhile, Ten Hag said he is aware that his club’s excessive spending in the close season transfer window means there is pressure to secure a top-four finish this term.

United spent more than £200 million to bring in Antony and Casemiro from Ajax Amsterdam and Real Madrid respectively, as well as Martinez and full-back Tyrell Malacia.

“I accept how it is, I accept that pressure,” Ten Hag said. “But also for the manager of Chelsea and of Newcastle United, those clubs who have invested a lot in their squad.

“It’s big pressure for all of us to get into the top four. We want to be in the top four and fighting for trophies that’s our aim.”

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