Why Marcel Sabitzer was substituted in Manchester United’s draw vs Leeds

February 9, 2023

Erik ten Hag confirmed the decision to take off Marcel Sabitzer in Wednesday’s draw with Leeds was a precautionary move, with the midfielder having not completed a full 90 minutes for some time.

United fought back from 2-0 down for a battling point against a defiant Leeds side. Wilfried Gnonto opened the scoring inside one minute with Raphael Varane’s own-goal doubling their lead shortly after half-time. But two goals inside eight minutes – Marcus Rashford’s superb header preceding Jadon Sancho’s strike – extended the Reds’ unbeaten home run.

With Casemiro suspended and both Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen injured, Sabitzer was handed his first start since joining on loan from Bayern Munich. The Austrian midfielder racked up 82 minutes before being replaced by Victor Lindelof, and the recent crisis in the middle of the park ignited some concern of yet another injury.

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But speaking after the result, United boss Ten Hagconfirmed the decision to take off the 28-year-old was purely precautionary, rather than injury-related.

“Nothing happened when we brought on Victor in the last minutes of the game,” he told beIN SPORTS. “But I think Marcel Sabitzer did a decent job and played a good game and the reason we took him off is because he didn’t play since a while 90 minutes. In training, he seems like a fit guy.

But if you have to come into a Premier League game, especially when you have to play Leeds United, as a team with the most intensity in the game, it is normal you are a little bit tired.”

United were able to come through a feisty affair relatively unscathed, with no sign of any fresh injuries. Leeds, however, lost two players to injury inside the opening 20 minutes, with Luis Sinisterra pulling up with what looked to be a hamstring problem before Pascal Struijk was substituted with a suspected concussion after blocking a powerful Rashford strike.

The pair will meet again at Elland Road in the reverse fixture this Sunday.