Man Utd: Erik ten Hag throws shade at star before Man City clash as ‘transfer set’ | Football | Sport

Erik ten Hag’s comments ahead of this afternoon’s 192nd Manchester derby act as an ominous warning for Sofyan Amrabat, whose hopes of remaining at Manchester United beyond the summer are dwindling. United visit Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium with limited options, particularly in defence, to make an uphill battle all the more steeper.

Amrabat returned to Ten Hag’s defence and was one of his side’s best second-half performers in Wednesday’s 1-0 FA Cup win at Nottingham Forest.

The 27-year-old stood in at left-back – with both Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia sidelined through injury – as Victor Lindelof partnered Raphael Varane at centre-back.

But Amrabat dropped out of the team for Sunday’s derby in east Manchester, making way for the experience of Jonny Evans.

And ahead of kick-off, Ten Hag claimed that his back four against City was the strongest available to him, seemingly snubbing Amrabat.

“Jonny [Evans] also struggled [with injury] lately, but he is one of the players to have fought to get into this game, and I think this is the strongest back four we have now available,” Ten Hag told Sky Sports.

“Very experienced, and also, I think it’s a back four that can deal with the offensive threat but also to take advantage of making the extra play in midfield, to take advantage, to go forward, maybe from more of a deep position, so this is what we thought was the best.”

Ten Hag pushed for Amrabat in the dying embers of the summer transfer window after Shaw joined Malacia on the injury table for the first time this term.

The Morocco international joined on deadline day on a season-long loan worth around £8.5million but has started just seven of United’s 27 league games.

And Ten Hag’s latest comments are a damning indicator of his position in his pecking order – both in midfield and in defence.

“What we missed in our squad was behind Casemiro, another one – so a typical holding midfield player,” Ten Hag told club media after Amrabat’s arrival.

“So we have him [Casemiro], and you see the overload in games. We need a type [like that], but also Amrabat can play alongside Casemiro.

“He is also capable of playing in a higher position on the pitch, and even he can play as a wing-back or a full-back.”

Amrabat has been doing neither on a consistent basis, and reports suggest he will return to Fiorentina this summer.

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