Erik ten Hag: Unfair that spotlight is on Cristiano Ronaldo for leaving Man United friendly early

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Erik ten Hag says it’s unfair for Cristiano Ronaldo to be in the spotlight for leaving Man United’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano early… but admits he’s not sure if the attacker will play against Brighton this weekend

  • Several players left Old Trafford early in Manchester United’s friendly match
  • Erik ten Hag said it was ‘unacceptable’, which was seen as a swipe at Ronaldo
  • But the Dutchman says that the attacker should not be picked on for criticism
  • Ronaldo could play against Brighton on Sunday if Anthony Martial is out

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Erik ten Hag plans to have Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United this season and says it is unfair that the Portuguese star was singled out for criticism for leaving last Sunday’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano early.

Ten Hag said in an interview with Dutch television this week that it is “unacceptable” for players to go home before the end of a match.

That was widely seen as a swipe at Ronaldo, who in the photo left Old Trafford 10 minutes before full-time after playing the first half.

Cristiano Ronaldo arrives on the training ground of Manchester United on Friday morning

Cristiano Ronaldo arrives on the training ground of Manchester United on Friday morning

The attacker appeared to leave the friendly with Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford early

The attacker appeared to leave the friendly with Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford early

The attacker appeared to leave the friendly with Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford early

However, Ten Hag insists his comments were addressed to all the players who left, saying: “Now I have to point out, those who left… it was a lot of players who left, but the spotlight is on Cristiano, that’s right not.

“So do your research and see that there are still a lot of players left, it was said. I don’t understand what the relationship is, he was part of it. There were many players.’

When asked whether he has spoken to the players about what he expects from them in the future, Ten Hag replied: “I think we have said enough about it. I said it’s not right. You name it, you correct them and then move on.’

The Rayo match was Ronaldo’s first appearance of pre-season after missing the club’s tour of Australia and Thailand for personal reasons.

Erik ten Hag: Ronaldo shouldn't be in the spotlight alone because he's leaving for full-time

Erik ten Hag: Ronaldo shouldn't be in the spotlight alone because he's leaving for full-time

Erik ten Hag: Ronaldo shouldn’t be in the spotlight alone because he’s leaving for full-time

Ten Hag praised the pre-season work of his players in his press conference on Friday afternoon

Ten Hag praised the pre-season work of his players in his press conference on Friday afternoon

Ten Hag praised the pre-season work of his players in his press conference on Friday afternoon

Anthony Martial will not be available to face the Seagulls due to a minor hamstring problem

Anthony Martial will not be available to face the Seagulls due to a minor hamstring problem

Anthony Martial will not be available to face the Seagulls due to a minor hamstring problem

The 37-year-old has asked to leave Old Trafford, but Ten Hag insists he sees the player stay this season.

“I am happy with the whole team, we are working well, we have a top striker. I’m really happy he’s here with the squad and we’re sticking to the plan.”

Ten Hag must decide against Brighton on Sunday whether he should throw Ronaldo directly into action instead of the injured Anthony Martial, despite his lack of match action. ‘We’ll see on Sunday. I think we will have solutions to solve it,” he said.


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