Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Jadon Sancho will not return for this Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup tie against Nottingham Forest, despite being back in training since last Tuesday following a lengthy spell out.
Sancho hasn’t played for United since being substituted 52 minutes into a 1-1 draw with Chelsea on 22 October. He was initially ruled out through illness immediately prior to the World Cup break but was then not part of the squad’s training camp in Spain in December.
Ten Hag explained at the time that the £73m signing was ‘not fit enough’ to be included, suggesting that Sancho had also been struggling mentally. He was placed on an individual programme to improve his fitness and rejoined his teammates in first-team training last week.
Sancho was unsurprisingly not thrown straight back into the mix for the weekend clash with Premier League leaders Arsenal, but Ten Hag has also ruled he won’t yet be risked for Forest either.
“All the players who were not available for Arsenal game, so [Diogo] Dalot, [Anthony] Martial, Sancho are also not available for tomorrow,” the United boss said on Tuesday.
The Forest game is the first in a two-legged semi-final that presents United with an excellent chance of winning a first trophy in six years to end a painful drought by their usual standards. The winner of the tie will face either Newcastle or Southampton in the final at the end of next month.
“It's about winning trophies, so we have a good opportunity but we have to go game from game,” Ten Hag explained. “Now we play Forest two legs, so focus on the first leg, don't think further ahead because that will distract and so the aim for tomorrow is win that game.
“It's the best feeling you can have, winning a trophy, and I have the luck in my career to win some trophies. It's magnificent, especially for the fans, it's so great and I think the fans here have some experience, especially the older ones, but in this period, Manchester United didn't win trophies and it's too long ago. We are aware of that fact and we have to do it again.”
Planet League's Rich Holmes & Sustainable Clarets' Cat Jebson join Shebahn Aherne to have football's climate conversation ahead of Green Football Weekend. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!