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But he maintained it was nothing compared to the disappointment felt by the player who is likely to be out “until late April or early May” according to a club statement. United hope the midfielder will be back to play a role in the final stages of the season but Ten Hag conceded the injury to a key player was a blow they could do without.

“Christian is disappointed about it, we are disappointed about it, but it happens in top football, it shouldn’t have happened but it did and you have to deal with it,” said the United boss.

Ten Hag was then asked about how he will replace Eriksen with his current crop of players, given that there are no obvious candidates with similar traits, to which he replied: “I think you can never fill that because every player has their own characteristics and identity, so another player will always fill it in in a different way. So, it doesn’t mean that you have to be less successful but it’s quite clear that Christian Eriksen, for our squad, brings top quality and he has some specifics that are hard to replace. For instance, his impact in the final third, [with his] final ball.”