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Cristiano Ronaldo can’t expect to flounce back into the Man Utd fold – Ten Hag is what the club needs, not him

IF Cristiano Ronaldo thinks he can flounce back into the fold next week after his axing from Manchester United he has another thing coming.

Boss Erik ten Hag has made it clear there is work to be done — on the player’s side.

Erik ten Hag is proving he is exactly what Man Utd needed in the dugout
Ten Hag is taking a firm line with Cristiano Ronaldo – which is the right decision for United

He said: “We will first talk.”

It was then put to him that there needs to be some contrition from Ronaldo before he is allowed back to training with the first team and an assurance that he will follow the rules.

Ten Hag said: “We set certain standards. That is for any player.”

The manager did not bother speaking to Ronaldo when he arrived at Carrington yesterday morning, he was concentrating on those who will be playing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this evening.

The Portugal superstar was left to train on his own.

Ten Hag said: “It will be a time for reflection for him, but also for everyone else.”

Time to reflect on what happened to the last player who refused to come on as a sub when Ten Hag called him, as Ronaldo did in the midweek 2-0 win against Spurs.

In 2018, Amin Younes did just that in a match between Ten Hag’s Ajax and Heerenveen.

Ten Hag chucked him out of the squad, made him train with the youth team and he never kicked a ball for Ajax again before a move to Italian club Napoli that same year.

The striker is now on loan at Utrecht from Saudi Arabia club Al-Ettifaq.

Ten Hag had warned Ronaldo about his behaviour when he walked out of Old Trafford before the end of the pre-season friendly against Spanish club Rayo Vallecano.

But he took it to another level against Spurs, by refusing a direct order to enter the field of play before then exiting down the tunnel before the end of the game and leaving the ground.

Ten Hag said: “After Vallecano, I told him it was unacceptable. This is the second time, there are consequences.

“I sent a warning at the start of the season.

“It’s a miss for the squad but it’s important for the attitude and mentality of the group and now we have to focus on Chelsea as that is important.”


It was in Amsterdam in April last season that Ten Hag made it very clear to shocked Manchester United officials what was wrong at their club and how it had to be his way or the highway if they employed him.

His tough stance and strong words convinced United chiefs they had the man to solve the player-power problem that had befallen them since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

Ten Hag remembered that meeting yesterday as he discussed Ronaldo and he has certainly been true to his pledges.

He said: “I talked to the directors about the culture, top sport culture, standards and that is why they appointed me.

“They did some background and we had talks about how I lead, what my personality is and how I do it in a strategic way and about my standards and leadership.

“To get top sport culture and to set the highest standards, we have to live them.

“That is what we do at the moment. It is not something you can construct in a couple of weeks. It takes time.


“We are setting high standards on the pitch and it reflects what we are constructing.”

Indeed those standards reached the highest level yet on the pitch under the Dutchman with Wednesday’s victory over Tottenham.

But it made it all the more annoying for him and the rest of the players that Ronaldo’s actions have moved the spotlight back on to him.

However, with the glare of the media on Ten Hag yesterday, he was pulling no punches.

It will have been music to the ears of United fans.

Ten Hag said: “I have to take the decisions in the interests of the club and the team especially, that’s my job. It doesn’t matter who it is, the age or reputation.

“I am the manager, I am responsible for top sport culture here and I have to set standards and values and I have to control them.


“In the team, we have values and standards and I have to control that.

“Also with my line-up, I have to pick the team which I think has the best chance to win.

“The expectations of Manchester United are really high. The ambitions are high.

“Our fans, all of our stakeholders expect results, so you have to act to certain standards and work every day on that.”

Ronaldo started only his second league game of the season last Sunday in the goalless draw against Newcastle.

He was not good, Manchester United were not good, and the Portuguese star was axed.

And, on Wednesday, they were excellent but Ronaldo could not handle the situation.

Now, Ten Hag has handled it — and strongly.

He, not Ronaldo, is just what Manchester United need.

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