Aston Villa v Man Utd: Pictures
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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag could be set to make a few interesting changes to his line-up when the Red Devils face Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup on Thursday evening. United were thumped by the west Midlands outfit in the league on Sunday but will be desperate to take revenge at the very first opportunity by claiming a morale-boosting victory under the lights at Old Trafford.
Ten Hag has not been one to make wholesale changes to his line-up during his short time in Manchester thus far, but will have plenty of decisions to mull over as he looks to get one over Unai Emery by defeating Villa on home soil on Thursday. It seems as though one or two fringe players could be in contention to feature for United, with forgotten defender Di’Shon Bernard even having taken part in training on Tuesday morning.
The 22-year-old, who has not played for United since 2019, was spotted with the rest of the club’s first-team stars at Carrington and will be hoping for the rarest of appearances when Villa face the Red Devils for a place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. Bernard, a centre-half, has previously spent time out on loan with Hull City and Salford City and scored an own goal for United in their Europa League group stage clash with Kazakh side Astana three years ago.
It remains to be seen whether Bernard will be given the nod by Ten Hag on Thursday, with United expected to avoid naming a full-strength team ahead of their upcoming Premier League match against Fulham on the weekend. The Dutchman hinted that changes would be made in a media conference on Wednesday and singled out Anthony Martial as a player who could be involved from the very start if he is fit enough to lead the line.
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“First of all, all the games that we play, we have only one aim,” said Ten Hag. “We have to win, so that is the most important. We have to win, so we put the best players on the pitch we have. For every game, we make a proper plan for the line-up and tomorrow is the same.
“Of course, we have a lot of games to cover and this is a different competition. We plan some changes but want to play a strong team. We have only one aim. We have to win tomorrow, to go to the next round.
“There are some players coming back and also some question marks. As you have seen, Anthony Martial, for the last 20 minutes, was back at Villa, so we are happy with that and we hope he can continue this tomorrow. He will be in the squad, we have to see, but he will have minutes, definitely, if he has recovered.”
United will undoubtedly be taking Thursday’s game against Villa seriously in order to progress in the Carabao Cup, which could represent their best chance to lift a trophy at the end of Ten Hag’s first season in charge. The Red Devils have not won a single major honour since clinching the Europa League back in 2017 and will be desperate to end the drought as quickly as possible under the guidance of their new Dutch manager.
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