Erik ten Hag has reprimanded Cristiano Ronaldo and other Manchester United players who left Old Trafford while Sunday’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano was underway, saying it was unfair to single the Portuguese out.
Ronaldo, the only one in the match squad known to leave early, was photographed outside the stadium with Diogo Dalot, who was not involved. This week, the manager stated it was “unacceptable” to leave before the final whistle. Ten Hag was asked how he had dealt with this. “You say it, you correct them and then move on,” he said.
Ten Hag slowed down when specifically asked about Ronaldo. “What do you mean? Now I have to point [out] that those who left, there were many players who left, but the spotlight is on Cristiano. That’s not right, so do your research and break up [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 put under pressure as to why Ronaldo and the others thought it was okay to leave earlier. “I think we’ve said enough about it. I said it’s not right,” he said.
Ronaldo wants to leave United and Ten Hag was asked how satisfied he was with the 37-year-old. “I’m really happy, I’ve told you that before,” he said. “We have a top striker, very happy to have him here with the team and we are sticking to the plan.”
In pre-season, Ronaldo played just 45 minutes against Rayo and trained for the past two weeks. Ten Hag confirmed that Anthony Martial would miss Brighton’s visit on Sunday with a hamstring injury, but he would not be drawn by the question of whether Ronaldo will appear.
“We’ll see on Sunday,” he said. “I am satisfied with the whole team, we work well [with a] good culture and Cristiano works very hard and hard.”
Ten Hag’s number 1 target is Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong, but with less than four weeks to go, a stalemate remains over his pursuit.
“We want Frenkie?” said Ten Hag. “To be [recruitment] about the right players and I cannot comment on a player who is under contract with another club. If you work with the current team and develop players in your current team, [I see] at the moment we have players in that position who are performing very well.”
Ten Hag stated that Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martínez were available for selection after their truncated preparation.