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Erik ten Hag defends decision to axe Cristiano Ronaldo as boss praises Man Utd ‘spirit’ after late point against Chelsea

ERIK TEN HAG hailed the comeback spirit of his  Manchester United stars — and defended his decision to axe Cristiano Ronaldo.

Man of the match Casemiro grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser to stun Chelsea.

Erik ten Hag had no regrets about dropping Cristiano Ronaldo against Chelsea
Ronaldo has been axed from the Man Utd squad after refusing to come on midweek

And United boss Ten Hag declared: “I have to make a big compliment to my team. To fight back with a fourth game in ten days, you see the spirit and how they deal with setbacks.

“Of course it was a big moment, to get a deserved point.”

But Ten Hag insisted the equaliser was irrelevant to justifying Ronaldo’s exile.

The Portugal star was dumped from the squad after his Old Trafford strop on Wednesday.

Dutchman Ten Hag said: “Of course it’s a big moment — but it doesn’t have anything to do with that case.

“It’s more important to have the right culture, to have the right standards and values.

“For the long term it’s always more important, in the end it will bring you to the right position.”

Casemiro was in the right place at the right time to head home Luke Shaw’s cross — after Jorginho put Chelsea ahead with a late penalty.


The goal capped a superb display by the £60m summer signing from Real Madrid.

Ten Hag said: “We thought he was capable of doing that. It’s clear that the Premier League is different, especially in intensity. He needed a short period to adapt to that.

“Now from game to game you see him growing — and how important he is for us.

“He brings the composure, he brings the organisation — and when he also even scores a goal, he brings a lot to the team.

“We showed resilience, that’s a really big thing for big teams.”

But United face disciplinary action from the FA after their fans disgraced themselves with homophobic chanting.

Ten Hag also condemned the abuse that Chelsea supporters hurled at Raphael Varane — as the France defender left the pitch in tears with an injury that could wreck his World Cup dreams.

In a week when all Premier League fixtures will celebrate the Rainbow Laces campaign, some United supporters indulged in sickening “Chelsea rent boy” chants.

Blues boss Graham Potter said: “I think we’ve still quite a bit of work to do, eh?”

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