(Reuters) – Manchester United forward Anthony Martial will miss Sunday’s Premier League opener against Brighton & Hove Albion due to a minor injury, but new signings Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez could start, manager Erik ten Hag said on Friday.
Martial scored three goals in friendlies in the pre-season after returning from his loan spell at Sevilla, and Ten Hag is hoping the Frenchman will shake off the problem quickly.
“It is always difficult to say with these injuries, but hopefully not too long,” Dutchman Ten Hag told reporters, adding that fans will have to wait until Sunday to see if Cristiano Ronaldo will play up front.
The Portuguese forward skipped United’s pre-season tour to Thailand and Australia and was left out for the team’s friendly defeat by Atletico Madrid before playing 45 minutes in their 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano last Sunday.
Ronaldo’s future at United has been the subject of intense speculation after British media reported that the 37-year-old told the club that he wanted to leave so he can play in the Champions League.
“I’m really happy. We have a top striker. He’s here and is in the squad. We stick to the plan,” Ten Hag said. “I think we have to look forward to the first game. We want to win every game and we will be trying to do that from Sunday.”
Ten Hag said United were still looking to strengthen their squad following the arrival of playmaker Eriksen and defenders Martinez and Tyrell Malacia and would have preferred to finish their transfer business before the season began.
“That would be a good situation, but I’m happy with the squad,” Ten Hag said. “I’m happy with the signings until now. We are working altogether.”
United are looking to improve on their sixth-placed finish last season.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)