Former England star blasts Erik ten Hag’s Cristiano Ronaldo ‘error’ as Man Utd are held by Newcastle

The former Ajax manager endured a frustrated afternoon as his side could only claim a point against the Magpies.

Former England star Jonathan Woodgate felt Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag made a critical error as his side were held to a goalless draw by Newcastle United.

The Magpies travelled to Old Trafford looking to improve on an abysmal record at the home of the Red Devils and put up a stubborn resistance throughout a hard-fought 90 minutes.  Both sides had chances to secure all three points but it was Ten Hag’s men that could, and perhaps should, have claimed a dramatic late win.

Cristiano Ronaldo had started the afternoon by being honoured for scoring his 700th club goal in last weekend’s win at Everton, but he could not replicate those heroics on only his second Premier League start of the season and was replaced by Marcus Rashford with under 20 minutes remaining.

The England forward went on to waste two late opportunities to secure a win for his side as he opted to pick out team-mate Fred after rounding Magpies keeper Nick Pope in a decision that allowed the visitors defence to crowd out the Brazilian midfielder.

But Rashford’s best chance came in the final minute of injury-time when he headed wide from close range after getting on the end of a fine cross from Casemiro.

Woodgate felt Ten Hag should have retained his trust in Ronaldo and insisted the Portuguese superstar would have taken at least one of the opportunities spurned by Rashford. He told BBC 5Live: “I think when you go into the last minutes of the game, he looks to freshen it up but, for me, Rashford goes around the keeper and he has to go for goal.  He has to go for goal.

“I think there are four or five players coming back with Fred and a confident player would put that in the back of the net, no problem.  As for the header, he has to score there as well.

“Ronaldo is disgruntled when he leaves the pitch, if Ronaldo is on he scores.  I think when you have a player of the magnitude that has scored 700 goals, you need a goal against Newcastle United, so, for me, I don’t see why you bring your goalscorer off as he scores all these goals.

“When Man United need a goal, I go with Cristiano Ronaldo; he’s proven, he scores goals, we all know that so keep him on the pitch.”

Despite Rashford’s late chances, Woodgate felt the Magpies deserved to claim a draw after a hardworking display at Old Trafford, but he also stressed Ten Hag’s men had to do more to break down their visitors.

“You would say it’s a fair scoreline,” explained the former Leeds United star. “Ok, Man United had a couple of opportunities late on in the game but Newcastle defended really well.  I wouldn’t say heroic defending, I would say organised, structured defensive play and Manchester United have to do more.

“They have to do more to break down a team like Newcastle. If Newcastle go into a deep block and are structured in their play, they need to find that pass but it’s a fair result.”