Erik ten Hag explains why Man Utd ended Sergio Reguilon loan

  • Man Utd allowed Reguilon to leave in January despite ongoing fitness issues at left-back
  • Tyrell Malacia unlikely to return this season after knee surgery
  • Ten Hag also without Luke Shaw, leaving no natural options
United let Reguilon leave in January
United let Reguilon leave in January / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Erik ten Hag has admitted his frustration towards the decision to terminate Sergio Reguilon's loan in January as he expects Manchester United to be without a natural left-back for the remainder of the season.

With both Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia injured last summer, United signed Reguilon on loan from Tottenham Hotspur in a deal which gave them the freedom to send him back midway through the campaign.

United ultimately opted to do so after Shaw had returned, before Malacia suffered a setback which left Ten Hag light on cover. With the Englishman now back on the sidelines with a fresh injury concern, United are set to be without a natural left-back for perhaps the remainder of the campaign.

"In December, I had the talks internally, with the medical and performance [staff]," Ten Hag said of the decision to offload Reguilon. "They assured me [Shaw & Malacia] will both be fit in January and so you will have two left full-backs. Then you have a third one [Reguilon], so I would always have to disappoint one full-back.

"We talk about one of my biggest frustrations there. You can accept in a position that a player is not available, but when two players are not available over the course of the season, that is very frustrating, because that is also very difficult to catch up as a team. We dealt with it in the best way, but of course it is a disadvantage.

"In our left full-back position, we've had two injuries almost over the whole course of the season. I think Liverpool is a good example. Last year they had at the same and they couldn't deal with it as well."

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Asked for further updates on Shaw and Malacia, Ten Hag confessed he does not expect to see either player again this season.

"I think it's going to be difficult for [Malacia] to be available this season," he explained. "He will fight, he's back on the pitch, but not in the team and the process had some setbacks for him. He's still going forwards really slowly, and the season is coming to an end.

"I think it's the same [for Shaw]. Maybe for the last games of the season, but we don't expect him back this month or next."

With Aaron Wan-Bissaka also injured on the other side of defence, the versatile Diogo Dalot has been United's only natural full-back in recent weeks, prompting Ten Hag to deploy centre-back Victor Lindelof on the left.

United have also been dealt a number of other recent injury blows, losing Rasmus Hojlund and Harry Maguire among others.