Man Utd boss Ten Hag fires warning to Fernandes and Rashford after Arsenal loss

Erik ten Hag had a message for Manchester United stars Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford. (Image: Sky Sports.)

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has warned injured stars such as Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford that if they cannot prove their fitness by playing before the FA Cup final, they will not get the chance to feature in the blockbuster Wembley tie with Manchester City. The influential duo both missed Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal through injuries, with the Portuguese captain also unlikely to return in midweek against Newcastle.

Ten Hag’s squad has been hit by injuries more than most throughout the Premier League campaign, having been unable to call upon the likes of Fernandes, Rashford, Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martinez, Mason Mount, Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane, Anthony Martial, Viktor Lindelof or Tyrell Malacia for the visit of Arsenal.

The Dutchman will hope that several of those key figures will be able to return before the end of the season, but has warned the walking wounded that if they do not feature in the remaining two league matches then it will come at a price – missing out at Wembley.

“If you want to go into a hard game like the cup final you need the game practice and they know that,” Ten Hag said in the aftermath of Arsenal’s victory at Old Trafford.

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Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes have been warned they may miss the FA Cup final. (Image: Getty)

Fernandes missed his first United game through injury since joining the club in the 4-0 thrashing at Crystal Palace on Monday, but sat out again for the visit of Arsenal despite Ten Hag confirming that he was back in training on Friday.

Rashford has been injured for United’s last four matches after picking up a knock in the FA Cup semi-final against Coventry, though similar to his skipper was also spotted in training this week, but did not feature against the Gunners.

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Ten Hag bemoaned having a far-from-fit squad to take on Arsenal, hinting that his position at the club would be much safer if he had United’s strongest team available more than once across his two years at Old Trafford.

“I don’t know where we should be when we had all the players on board, but definitely it is if there are players all on board, then you will get more points,” he added.

“Any manager can always do anything better, but now after two years here, I have only had one time where I have had a full group of players. You can’t progress a team when in particular in certain key areas, it is like swimming with your hands behind your back, then you have to keep your head up and above the water level, this is what we are trying to do.

“Still we are in a cup final, this is good but if you want to progress a team we need fit players. You have seen with our opponent today that only one player for (Arsenal) was not available. We had so many.”