Erik ten Hag says World Cup winner Lisandro Martinez “needs to accept” that Manchester United’s Premier League campaign restarts on December 27.
The centre-back is currently celebrating Argentina’s triumph in Buenos Aires, having appeared in five of his country’s seven games at the tournament.
Martinez missed United’s 2-0 win over Burnley in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday. United play Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.
Asked whether Martinez would be available, Ten Hag replied: “I can’t answer that question now — he is still celebrating in Buenos Aires!
“He is touring around Buenos Aires and I can understand that because it is emotional when you achieve this and get a World Cup into your country.
“It’s magnificent and the highest what you can achieve. But Licha Martinez has to accept that on the 27th, the Premier League will go on.”
Counterpart Pep Guardiola said that Julian Alvarez would not return for Manchester City for at least a week, while Alexis Mac Allister will not play for Brighton & Hove Albion before the New Year.
Ten Hag was also asked how Varane felt after losing the final. The defender limped off in the final minutes of extra-time.
“He is disappointed about losing the final but he can be proud that he was again in a final,” replied the Dutch coach. “What he has already achieved in his football career is massive. As a player like Rapha, when you win so many trophies and finish second, he can still be proud because getting to the final is already a big achievement.
“The level of the nations was so close and they came to the final and even in the final they were very close.”
With only five days between the conclusion of the World Cup and the resumption of United’s challenge, Ten Hag also addressed the difficulties of planning for the restart, which included personalised training programmes.
“We had a plan how to do it and how to manage the load of the players,” he said. “It is all individual based and nobody is the same or has the same programme.
“No one has the same minutes as they play in different positions and are different ages. We tried to get for everyone an individual plan.
“But we all know the restart is five days after the World Cup final and we all know after a World Cup the Premier League continues quickly.
“Everyone has to be ready for that, so you have to accept that — and that is for the manager, the coaching staff and the players.”
United are fifth in the Premier League, three points off the top four, though they hold a game in hand over Tottenham Hotspur.
(Photo: Getty Images)
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