"The type of player you need" - Ten Hag names Manchester United star who is perfect example amid injury issues

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag has hit out at the fixture schedule amid his growing injury list
Casemiro, Jonny Evans, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Dalot, Kobbie Mainoo and Marcus Rashford of Manchester UnitedCasemiro, Jonny Evans, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Dalot, Kobbie Mainoo and Marcus Rashford of Manchester United
Casemiro, Jonny Evans, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Dalot, Kobbie Mainoo and Marcus Rashford of Manchester United

Erik ten Hag says Manchester United need ‘very robust’ players in the mould of Bruno Fernandes to cope with the ‘over the top’ fixture overload in modern football.

There have been 53 separate cases of injury or illness that have caused a senior United player to miss a game this season, with some players understood to be questioning the intensity of training under Ten Hag.

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The United manager insists his side do not train ‘too hard’ and have a good medical department advising him on how to handle players, but points towards last season’s bumper schedule and the World Cup in Qatar as reasons why his side have suffered so much this campaign.

Asked about whether the intensity of training was having a detrimental impact on his squad, Ten Hag told reporters: “No. We don't train too hard. We need to be fit. With the standards in this league, you need to be fit. Otherwise you can't match the standards you are required in a game. We don’t train too hard. We have good departments, we have good people around with a lot of knowledge. Based on data we make our decisions.”

It was pointed out to Ten Hag that United haven’t actually played many midweek matches this calendar year and their schedule was eased after early exits from the Carabao Cup and the Champions League. However, the Dutchman insists that a key factor has been the hangover from last season, when many of his players were pushed to breaking point.

He added: “I know that it still has an effect, the huge amount of games we had in the last 18 months. That still has an impact on our squad, the accumulation on the players.”

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United captain Bruno Fernandes has famously never missed a match for the club due to injury and has played in 39 of a possible 41 matches across all competitions so far this season. His performance levels have sometimes dropped as a result of fatigue but Ten Hag is full of praise for the Portuguese playmaker.

“You need very robust players,” he continued. “That is the requirement. When you go into Christmas with many injuries. And then you have to bring them back. But when they are free from injury they are not match fit. They are not straight back into the form that also needs a couple of games before you get back into the rhythm. It still has an impact

“Bruno the perfect example? I think we have more players who are very robust like Bruno is. But yeah that is the type of player you need, yeah.”