Man Utd news: Erik ten Hag ‘picks centre-back pairing’ for Brighton clash | Football | Sport

Erik ten Hag is set to name Lisandro Martinez and Harry Maguire in his starting XI against Brighton on Sunday with Raphael Varane expected to be named on the bench, according to reports. The Dutch tactician will be eager to get off to the best possible start in his official Old Trafford bow as Graham Potter’s side bid to upset the apple cart in the highly-anticipated Premier League opener.

The Seagulls have had to deal with background distractions of their own this week following the £62million sale of Marc Cucurella to Chelsea.

On the flip side, Ten Hag has had to play down headlines surrounding his star man Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Old Trafford early last Sunday during the pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano.

Now Ronaldo could be set to start in place of Anthony Martial after the Frenchman picked up an injury that will rule him out of the contest.

According to Spanish journalist Guillermo RaiTen Hag has been rehearsing his starting XI since Tuesday and there is an unlikely exclusion.

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The United boss refused to confirm whether Martinez or Christian Eriksen would feature from the get-go against Brighton.

“We need competition in the squad, but also we are going into a long season with a lot of games,” he said. “We need a lot of good players. They are fit enough to start.”

Brighton cut through United like a knife through butter back in May, when the Seagulls thrashed the Red Devils 4-0 at the Amex.

But Ten Hag is adamant the past is now irrelevant, stating: “Last season is last season – I am looking forward. I am preparing the team for the future and for Sunday – that’s it.

“I think we have to look forward to the first game. We want to win every game and we will be trying to do that from Sunday.

“It is exciting, as is every season. But when you arrive with a new team, it is tough. But we are really looking forward to Sunday. They are a good team, a decent team and play attractive football. I like them. “

United will want to mark the new era in style as they prepare to face Brighton and Brentford before a tough run of fixtures that will see them face Liverpool, Leicester and Arsenal.

It was an impressive pre-season campaign overall from Ten Hag’s side, who recorded wins over Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Melbourne Victory during their tour of Thailand and Australia.

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