Manchester United made the transition back to competitive action on Wednesday night, beating Burnley 2-0 in the EFL Cup round of 16. They’ll know play Charlton Athletic in the quarterfinals.
Manager Erik ten Hag selected five of his World Cup players in the midweek starting lineup, with another four named to the bench. So you can expect him to name a strong team against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.
Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest FYIs
Competition: Boxing Day, Premier League Return
Kickoff: Tue Dec 27, 8pm GMT, Old Trafford, Manchester, UK
United Team News: go here
United Starting XI Prediction: go here
Google Probability: United Win 74% Draw 16% Nottingham Forest Win 10%
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
And that even includes Lisandro Martinez, who went home with the rest of his Argentina national teammates to celebrate the World Cup win.
“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.”
“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.”
Raphael Varane, like Martinez, was given a break after the World Cup final, where France lost a penalty shoot-out. United have, generally, given their World Cup stars a week off after their international duty is over.
“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.”
It sounds like it will be a last-minute decision whether or not Varane gets the start. Maybe Martinez will get a day off too.
Elsewhere Harry Maguire missed out on the Carabao Cup clash because of illness while Jadon Sancho will almost certainly miss out on the clash against Forest having now been granted leave time.
Prior to being granted leave, he was away training individually in The Netherlands, but Ten Hag has since said that Sancho is not mentally fit to play right now.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
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