Erik ten Hag has confirmed Anthony Martial will miss Manchester United’s clash against Brighton on Sunday through injury, but the Red Devils boss refused to say if Cristiano Ronaldo will start the game.
Martial, who impressed in pre-season, will be absent for the opening game of the new Premier League campaign at Old Trafford.
The 26-year-oldspent last season on loan at Sevilla but has worked his way into the new manager’s plans, however, he has picked up an untimely hamstring issue.
When asked whether he will miss the meeting with Brighton, Ten Hag said: ‘Yes. It is always difficult to say with injuries [how long he will be out for]. I hope it is not for too long.’
The natural replacement for Martial in the team is five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo, but he was one of the players to have left the Rayo Vallecano friendly last weekend early – which Ten Hag labelled ‘unacceptable’.
The Dutchman was non-committal on the subject of Ronaldo starting this weekend, simply saying: ‘See on Sunday.’
Ten Hag did, however, insist that it isn’t right that the focus is on Ronaldo and not his other team-mates who also left the stadium early.
‘There were many players who left early but the spotlight is on Cristiano – that is not right. Do your research,’ he said.
‘I am really happy. We have a top striker. He is here and is in the squad.’
Ronaldo has pushed to leave United this summer as he targets another season of Champions League football but a move away hasn’t materialised.
In terms of his lack of options up front, Ten Hag added: ‘We said before: we are still searching to strengthen the squad.
‘That would be a good situation [to have transfer business done], but I am happy with the squad. I am happy with the signings up until now.
‘We are working all together. I am happy with the current squad and we need the right players.’
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