Erik ten Hag has reprimanded Cristiano Ronaldo and other Manchester United players for leaving Old Trafford during Sunday’s friendly with Rayo Vallecano and said it was unfair to single out the Portuguese.
Ronaldo, the only one in the matchday squad known to have started early, was photographed outside the stadium with Diogo Dalot, who did not participate. This week the coach stated that it was “unacceptable” to have left before the final whistle. Ten Hag was asked how he had dealt with this. “You mention it, you correct it, and then you move on,” he said.
Ten Hag was upset when asked specifically about Ronaldo. “What do you mean? Now I have to point [out] than those who left, there were many players who left, but the focus is on Cristiano. That’s not right, so do your research and do it. [clear] many players left, that was what was said [by him].
I don’t understand what the relationship is [singling him out] – he was part of it. There were a lot of players.”
Ten Hag was pressed on why Ronaldo and the others felt it was okay to leave early. “I think we’ve said enough about that. I said that is not correct,” he said.
Ronaldo wants to leave United and Ten Hag was asked how happy he was with the 37-year-old. “I’m very happy, I told you before,” he said. “We have a top striker, very happy that he is here with the team and we are sticking to the plan.”
In the pre-season, Ronaldo played only 45 minutes against Rayo and trained for the last two weeks. Ten Hag confirmed that Anthony Martial would miss Brighton’s visit on Sunday due to a hamstring injury, but he declined to know if Ronaldo would feature.
“We’ll see on Sunday,” he said. “I am satisfied with the whole team, we are working well [with a] good culture and Cristiano is working very hard and hard”.
Ten Hag’s No. 1 target is Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong, but with less than four weeks remaining in the window, there remains an impasse regarding his pursuit.
“Do we want Frenkie?” Ten Hag said. “Their [recruitment] about the right players and I cannot comment on a player under contract at another club. When you work with the current team and develop players in your current team, [I see] right now we have players in that position who perform very well”.
Ten Hag said Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez were available for selection after their truncated preseason.