May 29, 2024

Erik ten Hag has revealed the reasoning behind his Manchester United selection for the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle United.

The boss resisted the temptation to make too many changes to his side, despite the taxing Europa League victory over Barcelona, but he has made two alterations to the XI on duty at Old Trafford on Thursday night.

There is a completely new right flank with Diogo Dalot and Antony drafted in and Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jadon Sancho on the bench.

The Reds are obviously still without Donny van de Beek, Christian Eriksen and Anthony Martial but Marcus Rashford is fit enough to start, despite hobbling off late on against Barca.

When asked if he was relieved about Rashford being fit, the boss told club media: “Of course, you always have to wait 24 hours. As you know, we played shortly before, on Thursday night, and you wait to see how it develops. I think it was quite soon clear he was ready for the game, ready to perform and ready to score goals.”

Erik also explained why Antony is preferred to Sancho, saying: “Antony is a player, especially when the occasion rises, he likes it and then he can perform as the best. But also Jadon, as we know, he came back from a long time out of the squad and then, to get into the rhythm every third day a game, is difficult from a physical perspective. It’s better to bring him from the bench, there you can bring energy into the team.”

Obviously, it was tough to make calls on his squad for such a big occasion, but he told MUTV’s Stewart Gardner: “Yes, from a human perspective. But, as a manager, that is why I am appointed. That is my job I have to do and I have to everything for the interest of the team and the club.” 

THE TEAMS

United: De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro, Fred; Antony, Fernandes (c), Rashford; Weghorst.

Substitutes: Heaton, Lindelof, Maguire, Malacia, Wan-Bissaka, Sabitzer, McTominay, Garnacho, Sancho.

Newcastle: Karius; Trippier (c), Botman, Schar, Burn; Longstaff, Guimaraes; Joelinton, Almiron, Saint-Maximin; Wilson.

Substitutes: Gillespie, Lascelles, Manquillo, Targett, Anderson, Ritchie, Murphy, Willock, Isak.

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