Coventry City vs Manchester United: Why did Christian Eriksen's game time reduce this season? Erik ten Hag responds

Eriksen was an important part of United’s setup last season but has struggled to get minutes this campaign.

Christian Eriksen in a practice session; Credit: Twitter@ManUtd
By Karthik Raman | Apr 20, 2024 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Manchester United would hope to put behind their recent poor form when they face Coventry City in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday. The contest at Wembley Stadium will be one to look forward to for various reasons. Even though Coventry are currently playing in the EFL Championship, they cannot be underestimated. They came from behind to score twice in injury time to defeat Wolverhampton Wanderers in the last round.

Coventry City’s 3-2 quarter-final win over Wolves away from home is something not many saw it coming. Hence, Manchester United must not take them lightly in the semi-final at Wembley Stadium. Besides, the FA Cup represents the only opportunity to end the season with a trophy for the Red Devils. United had already suffered early eliminations from the Carabao Cup and Champions League. Besides, they are far behind in the race to finish in the top four Premier League positions.

Erik ten Hag on Mark Robins

Hence, the FA Cup represents the only chance for the club to bring some joy to the supporters. Besides, the upcoming contest will see Erik ten Hag’s side take on former United striker Mark Robins’ Coventry. “We did our job and we are prepared, so we know their team, we know how they play, we know the individual abilities of the players,” ten Hag, quoted on the club’s website, said in his pre-match press conference.

He added: “Of course, also we know the manager, a former United player, striker, his long period there, he’s doing a fantastic job there. So, we know a lot about them. Of course they are dangerous, they are in the semi-final. It’s logical. Last season, they were that far away [gestures small gap] from being promoted to the Premier League. So, they do a fantastic job over there. We have seen the game against Wolves, in the quarter-final, the mentality in the team is fabulous, so we have to play to our best levels.”

Why did Christian Eriksen’s game time reduce?

It will also be interesting to see if ten Hag will continue with his best XI or whether he will give chances to some of his fringe players. Christian Eriksen was an important part of United’s setup last season but has struggled to get minutes this campaign, which also has to do with the meteoric rise of young talent Kobbie Mainoo. Asked about the reduction in Eriksen’s game time, ten Hag replied, “I think that [Kobbie Mainoo’s progress] is the main reason. He [Kobbie] was so important for us, he is playing in that six/eight role, [to] bring creation to the team, bring composure, in our possession game, to the team. I think that is the main reason why Christian has less minutes than last season.”

The manager then provided a squad update and spoke about the players who could be available for this clash. “Yeah, Antony and Scott [McTominay] I expect them to be back. Scott didn’t train all week, partial on Wednesday, today I expect him full. Antony did train the whole week. We have some problems I already said. Harry [Maguire], all game against Bournemouth he struggled, he had an issue, he had a small injury, he didn’t train this week so far. But now he’s back on the pitch. So, we expect him today back in the team training. He will be available I think, I hope, for Sunday,” he elaborated.

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