Erik ten Hag expects Tyrell Malacia to miss season as Man U injury woes continue

Erik ten Hag expects Tyrell Malacia to end up missing the entire season through injury as the Manchester United manager’s left-back frustrations continue.

The Red Devils have been beset by problems during a bumpy second term for Ten Hag, who is fighting for his job over the coming weeks and months.

United have had to deal with key absentees and been left light in certain areas, most problematically left-back as Luke Shaw’s issues have compounded the season-long absence of Malacia.

Manchester United Training – Aon Training Complex – Wednesday October 12th
Manchester United’ manager Erik ten Hag (right) with Luke Shaw (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ten Hag said just under a month ago that he soon hoped to have the Netherlands international back from a knee complaint, having dealt with some setbacks during rehab.

But the United boss will have to keep muddling through at left-back for the foreseeable future after he revealed Malacia’s return is unlikely to come this season.

“We talk about one of my biggest frustrations is there,” Ten Hag said.

“You can accept in a position that a player is not available, but when two players are not available over the course of the season that is very frustrating.

“Because that is also very difficult to catch up as a team, but we dealt with it in the best way, but of course it is a disadvantage.”

Asked how far away Malacia is from returning, the United boss said: “I think it’s going to be difficult for this season to be available.

“He will fight, he’s back on the pitch, but not in the team and the process had some setbacks and is still going really slowly forward, and the season is going to an end.”

That blow puts United’s decision to allow Sergio Reguilon to return to Tottenham midway through a season-long loan in the spotlight.

Signed in September to provide back-up with Malacia lied low, the Spain international was sent back to Spurs in January and has since made a temporary switch to Brentford.

Asked if it was a mistake letting Reguilon go back, frustrated Ten Hag said: “I think it’s a good question because in December I had the talks internally with, of course, medical and performance (staff).

“They assured me they (injured defenders) will be fit in January, they will be both fit in January, so you have two left full-backs.

“Then when you have two left full-backs and you have a third one, that means I always have to disappoint one full-back.”

Manchester United v Newcastle United – Carabao Cup – Fourth Round – Old Trafford
Manchester United decided not to keep Sergio Reguilon (Martin Rickett/PA)

Malacia was undergoing rehab at that point and Shaw was recovering from an injury issue that kept him out for five weeks, returning in late January against Newport in the FA Cup.

That was one of five appearances the England international managed before sustaining a muscle injury that is expected to rule him out until mid-May.

“I think it’s the same,” Ten Hag said of Shaw. “Maybe for the last games of the season, but we don’t expect him back this or next month.”

The duo are among a number of injuries at a key time for United, with Everton arriving in the Premier League on Saturday lunchtime before hosting Liverpool in next weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe
Sir Jim Ratcliffe (pictured) has bought a stake in Manchester United (Peter Byrne/PA)

Those matches could also go a long way to deciding the future of Ten Hag, who he believes Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos understands the issues he has had to contend with this season.

“They are aware of it,” the Dutchman said. “We talk a lot with each other, talk a lot about processes and the way we want to go for the future.”

Pushed on whether they appreciate the difficulties and are understanding, Ten Hag added: “That is what they’re telling me but I’m independent, I’m here to win.

“I’m in a process and we keep going in this process. We know which direction we want to go.

“We have now big setbacks, we’ve had big setbacks but we keep going and have a strong mentality. We keep fighting and keep pushing the team in the right direction.”