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Martínez and Casemiro set for long layoffs as Ten Hag seeks stability

Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United can go on a winning run when more stable, but the manager does not expect Lisandro Martínez and Casemiro to return before Christmas to help achieve this aim.

Martínez has been out since late September with a foot injury while Casemiro suffered a hamstring problem in the Carabao Cup defeat against Newcastle last week.

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The Argentinian defender and Brazilian midfielder are part of a long list of players who have been injured or ruled out for private or disciplinary reasons. The team’s best sequence of victories is three and Ten Hag pointed to needing a settled side to achieve consistent results. “Once you get more stability, you have a better chance to go on a run,” he said.

“It starts with good organisation in and out of possession and that last point is absolutely what we have now, we have such a good vibe and spirit.”

Ten Hag was asked about when those injured might return including Luke Shaw, who has a muscle problem. “I have some time schedules but it’s always difficult to predict that because they can get setbacks during the rehab period. Casemiro and Martínez – I don’t expect them back before Christmas,” he said.

United are in Copenhagen for their fourth Champions League group game knowing victory on Wednesday would keep qualification for the last 16 firmly in their hands. United are third, a point behind Galatasaray who play the leaders, Bayern Munich.

Rasmus Højlund has scored three times in the competition but is yet to register in the Premier League. Ten Hag believes the 20-year-old striker will also benefit from a settled team. “We have to work on a stable starting XI of 12, 13 players. Then the routines will be better and the chances will be coming for him.”

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Copenhagen’s head coach, Jacob Neestrup, claimed United will face an atmosphere “100%” more intense than his side endured at Old Trafford in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago, which they lost 1-0. The Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen laughed this off, saying United were not “sure about that”.

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Meanwhile no action will be taken against Alejandro Garnacho after a Football Association investigation into the United winger’s post on X, formerly Twitter, about André Onana. It featured an image of the goalkeeper and teammates celebrating his late penalty save against Copenhagen with two gorilla emojis. It was removed from social media soon after being published.

“We are satisfied with Alejandro Garnacho’s explanation and the context that it provides, so we will not be issuing disciplinary proceedings on this occasion,” the FA said in a statement.