Erik ten Hag praises two Manchester United players after Nottingham Forest win

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag lauded Raphael Varane’s performance on his return to club football nine days after the World Cup final.

The France international played 113 minutes in the final defeat to Argentina in the Lusail Stadium and Varane lasted 77 minutes in the 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest, having offered to start amid a defensive injury crisis.

Harry Maguire is still not 100 per cent fit after contracting a virus towards the end of England’s World Cup run in Qatar, Victor Lindelof was absent due to illness while Lisandro Martinez has only just returned from celebrating Argentina’s World Cup win in his homeland.

Luke Shaw started at centre-back in a duo for the first time as United recorded a sixth clean sheet in 15 Premier League games. United have only sieved four goals at Old Trafford in the league; all of them coming in their first three home matches.

“I think you always question yourself after a break,” Ten Hag said, “what will be the restart and we play a team – especially the back four – they never played together and a player who never played ever in a centre-back position (Shaw). And if you win three, concede no goal, another clean sheet, then you are happy with the performance.

“Rapha shows once again his great personality, the great standard he is giving Manchester United by coming from the World Cup. A problem in the centre half position and he took the responsibility to play and he performed really well and he was once again really important for our team.

“I work in the rules and we are quite strict on keeping the rules, controlling the rules and if everyone is doing the job then you concede less goals, the organisation is right, it’s always the base, the platform for winning games.”

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