Erik ten Hag has admitted Manchester United‘s lengthening list of absentees is a “concern” and says he has rarely been able to play his best team during his time at Old Trafford.
Harry Maguire is the latest player to pick up an injury, ruling him out of the trip to Bayern Munich along with Raphaël Varane, Mason Mount, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Sofyan Amrabat, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Kobbie Mainoo.
The long list of missing players has made United’s task in Germany even tougher against a Bayern Munich team who haven’t lost a Champions League group stage game for nearly 10 years.
“One thing is true, from the start of last season I almost never started with the best starting XI, it was always something like an injury,” Ten Hag told a news conference in Munich on Tuesday.
“But you have to deal with it and we always get the results, apart from the period we are in now. It’s a concern but that’s why we constructed the squad with depth, so we can deal with it. The squad can deal with it.
“Injuries always come in top football because we’re living on the edge and injuries are coming up. We analyse why things happen but we also have to deal with the facts and it’s always about the players available. We have a strong side and we have to get the best out of it.”
United are hoping to bounce back against Bayern following the chastening 3-1 defeat to Brighton on Saturday.
Speaking about the German champions, Ten Hag insisted he had no regrets about not signing Harry Kane, who moved to the Allianz Arena in the summer, but warned his players about the challenge they face in Munich.
“They have very attractive players, very skillful, you can’t be unfocused for one second, one split second because there is so much individual class that they have,” added the Dutchman.
“But they also leave you sometimes space but we are very respectful of Bayern, especially in the Champions League, especially at the group stage at home they are very strong, but we are looking forward because we like the challenge and we trust ourselves.”
Meanwhile, André Onana has brushed off criticism of his on-field argument with Maguire during the preseason tour of the United States. Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher branded Onana’s reaction to a Maguire mistake as “over the top” but the Cameroon goalkeeper insists there is no problem with the England defender.
“Harry’s a very good guy, I have a good relationship with him,” said Onana.
“I spoke to him this morning before we took off [to Munich]. What happened there [in the U.S.] was done straight after the game. I don’t think we have to give too much to what happened, we are big guys and what happened on the pitch stays on the pitch. We have a good relationship.”