Ten Hag explains Varane and Martinez decision as Maguire starts vs Leeds

Manchester United have the chance to go seven points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur this afternoon as Erik ten Hag’s men face Leeds United for the second time in four days.

The last meeting between the two sides ended 2-2 at Old Trafford, with a second-half fightback from the Reds earning them a point against the Yorkshire side.

The trip to Elland Road is one of many big games for United this month, with two games against Barcelona and the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle still to be played as well.

That will require some rotation by Ten Hag and seemingly, the Dutchman is already keeping that in mind. Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane both started against Leeds in midweek but both players are on the bench this weekend. Speaking ahead of the 2 PM kick-off, Ten Hag explained his thinking behind the decision.

“Rotation, that’s one part of it,” Ten Hag told the official Manchester United website. “We have a lot of games to cover. We are already back and a lot of games after each other and (there are) a lot of games coming ahead. The other part is also tactics.

Quizzed further on replacing Varane and Martinez with Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw at centre-back, Ten Hag insisted the pair’s experience will be invaluable.

“They know each other, they know also the game, the rivalry,” Ten Hag said. “They have to project it on the whole team so I expect leadership from them today, definitely.”

Varane has almost certainly been rested for next week’s trip to Barcelona but Martinez is a surprising one, considering the Argentine is suspended for the first leg.

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