Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag explains Antony decision as £86m flop among three new absentees | Football | Sport

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Antony misses tonight’s FA Cup third-round clash against Wigan Athletic through injury, adding to his availability frustrations. Christian Eriksen and Amad Diallo join the 23-year-old winger as fresh absentees, meaning Ten Hag is without 13 senior players for the must-win tie.

Relentless injuries, illness, and off-field matters have thwarted the Dutchman in his troublesome second season as United manager.

It has felt like a new issue has smacked Ten Hag in the face across a forgettable first half of the campaign, which saw him oversee 14 defeats in 28 games.

And he has confirmed why Antony, Eriksen and Amad are the latest absentees against Wigan in the FA Cup, United’s final chance for silverware this term.

Ahead of kick-off, Ten Hag revealed that Antony was injured, while Eriksen and Amad are the latest Red Devils stars to have been struck by illness.

Rasmus Hojlund missed the 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest to end 2023 but has recovered to make his FA Cup debut against Wigan.

However, Ten Hag is keen to avoid using his list of absentees as an excuse, rightly acknowledging that United have a strong enough team to progress into the next round.

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“We have a lot of injuries and illnesses, but we have a very good team. We have to win,” Ten Hag told MUTV.

United could field another team with the number of unavailable players watching the clash at the DW Stadium from home.

In Ten Hag’s defence, he is without the injured Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia. Lisandro Martinez has returned to training but isn’t ready to return.

Unlike Andre Onana, Sofyan Amrabat hasn’t delayed his Africa Cup of Nations involvement and has joined Morocco ahead of the tournament in the Ivory Coast.

So the 27-year-old joins Casemiro, Mason Mount and Eriksen as midfielders sidelined. Casemiro, like Martinez, is back in training but needs more time to return to action.

Amad and Antony leave Ten Hag thin on attacking options beyond his starting front three of Hojlund, Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho.

Anthony Martial remains absent amid speculation regarding a potential January exit. Jadon Sancho is still exiled and also likely to leave this month, with Borussia Dortmund in talks over a loan move.

United have named 12 academy names in their 20-man squad at Wigan. Defender Rhys Bennett and attacker Omari Forson could become the latest starlets to make their senior debuts.

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