Saturday, December 9News That Matters

Lisandro Martinez names preferred Man Utd centre-back partners in Maguire blow

Lisandro Martinez believes he forms a good central defensive partnership with Victor Lindelof at Manchester United in Raphael Varane’s absence.

Martinez was partnered by Lindelof in Wednesday’s EFL Cup first leg semi-final win at Nottingham Forest.

And the duo shut the hosts out while both demonstrated their ability once again to progress the ball out from defence.

Lindelof has started only four Premier League matches this season, but he has been included from the start in eight cup matches across the EFL Cup and Europa League and was chosen to replace Varane. While Harry Maguire was suspended for the game.

Wout Weghorst scored his first goal for the club on Wednesday, he joined on loan this month to give competition to Anthony Martial after Cristiano Ronaldo ’s exit.

Club captain Maguire has been usurped by the arrival of Martinez who is now first-choice defensive partner of Varane. Lindelof is another option while Phil Jones is yet to play a game under Ten Hag this campaign.

Lindelof was impressive against Forest and earned the praise of Martinez after the game, with the Argentine World Cup winner explaining that the two work alongside each other in training and complement each other.

“I think we showed many good things, but still, we have a lot to improve,” Martinez said after Wednesday night’s victory.

“It’s a good result, I think we controlled the game today. In training, we [him and Lindelof] work with each other and I think we’re doing a really good job.”

Lindelof is unlikely to be starting regularly for United should both Varane and Martinez be available, but the former Benfica star has done his chances no harm.

The relationship shared by the two first-choice central defenders off the pitch also works well for the Red Devils.

“Another step in the right direction! Bringing 3 points back to Manchester,” Varane wrote on Instagram alongside a picture of himself celebrating the win with Martinez, David de Gea and Diogo Dalot. In response, Martinez wrote: “What a pleasure to play by your side brother.”

Rio Ferdinand was impressed by their connection, describing them as “almost like the perfect couple”. They have established themselves as favourites at Old Trafford this season, giving Maguire plenty of work to do to force himself back into the team.

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