'We need more than two' - Manchester United set for positional boost in FA Cup final

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is hopeful of having at least four specialist centre backs available for the FA Cup final against Manchester City next week.

Lisandro Martinez made his first start in more than three months in the 2-0 win away to Brighton, where Raphael Varane returned from a six-week injury lay-off.

Varane came on in the 69th minute and Jonny Evans emerged ten minutes earlier to replace Martinez in a planned substitution. Willy Kambwala was an unused substitute.

Victor Lindelof did not travel with the United squad but trained in midweek. Harry Maguire was not expected to play again in the Premier League after he sustained a muscular injury two weeks ago but he has not been ruled out of the final at Wembley.

"Our centre half position was a nightmare across the season with all of the injuries," Ten Hag reiterated. "But if you want to have results, one of the foundations of a good time is a partnership of good centre halves and we didn't have it.

"I'm glad we have something to choose. We have to think about quality but also fitness levels, where they are, and probably we need more than two next week."

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Diogo Dalot has started in all but three of United's 51 games so far this season and capped his league campaign with the opening goal at the Amex Stadium.

Dalot has regularly moved into midfield when United are in possession of the ball and his goal came via an adventurous charge into the final third that he had embarked on before at Luton in February.

"It's about making overloads in midfield and he is a very good runner in behind," Ten Hag explained of Dalot's positioning. "He can do it from left full back, he can do it from right full back, he can attack from the centre areas, over wide areas and bring crosses in.

"He is a player who developed in full back, who can play just as full back but an inverted full back, his development is very good this season and we are very pleased with this."

United were treated to a raucous send-off by their 3,000 travelling supporters at Brighton. "It's amazing," Ten Hag enthused. "We have the best fans in the world and I mean this: I've never had this experience when you have the season like us - which is by far not good enough - that the supporters are with us.

"They are with us in the bad season, in good times and bad times, in bad times they show they are there and they know why the bad times are there.

"But we have to pay them back and we have to do everything to give them a trophy next week but also for the future we have to perform better."