Jamie Carragher has issued advice to Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez on how to handle Manchester City star Erling Haaland this weekend.
The Manchester derby takes place at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday as the Red Devils look to continue their fine form in the league.
Erik ten Hag’s side lost their first two games of the campaign, but have bounced back with four straight victories.
This weekend, however, United face the most clinical striker in the league in Haaland.
The Norway international has hit the ground running since signing for City in the summer, netting 11 goals in just seven games.
The Red Devils own summer signing, defender Martinez, will have the tough task of stopping Haaland on Sunday.
Liverpool legend Carragher thinks the best thing the centre-back can is try and out-think the striker rather than get drawn into a physical battle with him.
‘The best advice Manchester United coach Erik ten Hag can offer Lisandro Martínez about dealing with Erling Haaland is to keep away from him,’ Carragher told the Telegraph.
‘Some battles can be won by outmuscling or outplaying an opponent. Other players need out-thinking. Martínez must be at his smartest to get the better of his Manchester City rival this weekend.
‘You cannot completely keep away from your direct opponent, of course, but with experience comes the knowledge that you need to pick your battles and identify the right areas in which to duel.
‘It is a psychological as much as a physical test in the biggest fixtures against the best players, recognising what you are up against and trying to work out what the opponent wants you to do most, and what they enjoy least.
‘That is the challenge for Martínez, Raphaël Varane or anyone facing Haaland.’
‘There is a lot to like about Martínez’s first appearances in a United shirt. The fans have taken to him as a cult figure because he is a warrior and natural leader,’ Carragher added.
‘United’s defence has impressed since the calamitous performance against Brentford and Martínez has been central to that. Since he was paired with Varane, they have kept three clean sheets in five games. But, long-term, the reservations I had when first seeing Martínez remain.
‘He looks a little too short to play centre-back in the Premier League. We saw when United struggled badly against Brentford – a game where Martínez was subbed at half-time – how difficult it is for him if sides hit long balls into the penalty area to a striker relishing such service like Ivan Toney. There is nothing you can do about a height disadvantage when forced into continuous aerial challenges.
‘Haaland may have been kept quiet by Martínez in Ajax’s Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund last season (the Dutch won 4-0) but the Norwegian is currently the best striker in the world. He can hurt a side in many ways, but he has the profile of an old-fashioned No 9.’
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