Erik ten Hag hopes Manchester United can continue to call upon their full quota of attacking talents after the returns of Jadon Sancho and Antony Martial.
The two attackers were second-half substitutes in Wednesday’s 2-0 EFL Cup semi-final second-leg victory against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford, with Martial marking his return from injury with a goal.
With the aforementioned duo, Marcus Rashford, Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst among those for Ten Hag in the attacking third, United have a number of options to call upon.
However, any selection headache it may present is of relief to Ten Hag, who has seen his squad have to cope with several absences so far this season.
“The problem is they were not always available until now. We did a lot of compromises during the season so far,” he told Sky Sports.
“I hope we come to a point where they are available. If you want to win trophies, they need to be available because we have so many games.
“You saw today, you can do something from the bench, bring in a different dynamic.”
United’s triple change on the hour mark resulted in the breakthrough against Forest, with Sancho among them in his first appearance for the club since October.
The England international played a different role than was expected, occupying a more central position than one on the wing, with versatility something Ten Hag is keen to capitalise on.
“I think we’ve done it before. It’s a different dynamic, it’s what we intended to do,” he explained.
“I know he can play as a number ten as well, he can play as a winger. We mix it up and around.
“That’s what I like, but the position has to be occupied and the player has to keep the discipline because otherwise it’s going to be a mess.”
Can’t rush a comeback.
@Sanchooo10 #MUFC || #CarabaoCup pic.twitter.com/xSC7vVBcBT
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 1, 2023
With a spot in the EFL Cup final secure, where Newcastle United await on February 26, the Red Devils can look ahead to a packed fixture schedule that includes a double-header against Leeds United in the Premier League and a two-legged tie with Barcelona in the Europa League.
However, such a congested fixture list is not of concern to Ten Hag, who welcomed the challenge it presents.
“It’s a luxury problem, it’s how we want it. It’s normal for Manchester United to play every third day, so we’re looking forward to that,” he added.
“Most players are looking forward to playing games more than training. For us, we must make every game better than the previous one.
“We’re looking forward to the final. It’s great to go to Wembley, to play Newcastle United, who are a great team, but it’s far away for us now.
“We’re looking forward to the Premier League on Saturday against Crystal Palace.”