Erik ten Hag says Lisandro Martinez’s knee injury “doesn’t look good” and the concerned Manchester United boss is praying centre-back has avoided a “personal disaster”.
The 26-year-old looked crestfallen after being forced off on just his fourth appearance since returning from four months out following the reoccurrence of a foot issue.
Martinez was surrounded by concerned United team-mates in the second half after going down clutching his right knee having been landed on awkwardly by West Ham full-back Vladimir Coufal.
The Argentina international was able to continue for a short period, only to pull up again and eventually trudge down the touchline to supportive chants from the Old Trafford faithful.
Ten Hag is fearing the worst and says “we can only pray” that Martinez, who he signed from former club Ajax in 2022, has avoided serious injury.
“I can’t say (what the situation is) but it doesn’t look good, so there’s a big concern,” the United boss said after Sunday’s 3-0 win against the Hammers.
“But we have to wait for what is the diagnosis and then we can tell you more.
“Of course we do everything to get the right diagnosis and see what the damage is.
“He is very sad, very disappointed. We are all. We feel really with him.
“First of all, it’s a personal disaster when it’s really bad but let’s wait for what it is. But also for the team it’s really bad because he definitely brings us a lot.”
Martinez’s injury was a body blow on an otherwise brilliant day in what has been a largely disappointing campaign for United.
Rasmus Hojlund lashed the side ahead on his 21st birthday, before 19-year-old talent Alejandro Garnacho added a second-half brace.
The Argentina international celebrated his first goal by sitting on the advertising hoardings with fellow grinning young guns Hojlund and Kobbie Mainoo, 18.
“We now have a team that is in balance on the pitch, then we can play better,” Ten Hag said. “Also you see the progress is coming.
“We bought players in the summer for the future. We also made choices to give players who deserve it, to give opportunities in the first team as Garnacho and Mainoo.
“But Mainoo in the second game (of the pre-season tour) against (Real) Madrid, gets a real bad injury, then all the plans you have you have to adapt.
“Hojlund had a period, he came late in, young, but you see he is progressing.
“When there is a consistent team in his back with routines, they will serve him better and then you see a frontline who is in balance.
“It is a threat for every opponent and also you see they enjoy it, to play football.
“They enjoy to give opponents problems, they want to do it with togetherness and the picture of the three youngsters celebrating together covered a lot, I think.
“It’s not about one player, it’s about a team and that is what I have seen today.
“It looked like a team – 11 defending, 11 attacking. For me, it was enjoyable to watch.”
That viewpoint was not shared by West Ham counterpart David Moyes, who felt his side perhaps even played better than when they beat United 2-0 at home in December.
“Yeah, I do (think the scoreline flattered United,” he said. “I look at my last couple of performances. I didn’t enjoy our draw against Bournemouth, I didn’t think we played well enough.
“I didn’t enjoy my point again Sheffield United but I probably enjoyed my team’s performance better. I didn’t enjoy the results.
“So, that’s why when you’re getting to a point and you’re not doing well you’ve just got to take it and move on.
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“But I’m hoping the performance today we can build on, I thought we played much better today.
“I thought we made quite a few opportunities and we just didn’t quite have a shooting boots on to get us the chances.
“We beat Manchester United at the London Stadium and we may have played better today than we did at the London Stadium.”