Erik ten Hag has said he will ‘deal with’ Cristiano Ronaldo on Thursday after the attacker stormed down the tunnel in the final minutes of Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Ronaldo was an unused substitute on Wednesday as the Red Devils dominated the encounter at Old Trafford and produced 28 shots across the 90 minutes, with Fred and Bruno Fernandes netting the decisive goals. But Ronaldo’s reaction, just before injury-time, has put a sour note on United’s best display so far under Ten Hag.
The 37-year-old was caught walking away from the bench, down the touchline and into the tunnel as the United manager opted to bring on Christian Eriksen and Anthony Elanga in the latter stages, instead of Ronaldo.
The Portugal star, of course, has previous in this regard and was filmed repeatedly shaking his head when withdrawn on Sunday against Newcastle United. Ten Hag also claimed it was ‘unacceptable’ when Ronaldo left early in July’s pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano, while there was also his high-profile absence from United’s summer tour amid rumours about his future.
But speaking after the game to Amazon Prime, the United manager said: “I will deal with that tomorrow, not today. We are now celebrating this victory.” Speaking in the post-match press conference, Ten Hag reiterated that stance, saying: “I don’t pay attention today. I will deal with it tomorrow. I want to get the focus on this team, it was a magnificent performance from all 11 players.”
It was Marcus Rashford who started up front for United on Wednesday in place of Ronaldo, and the team evidently benefited from the former’s runs in behind, something United’s No.7 failed to provide in last Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Newcastle.
The three points over Spurs leaves United fifth in the table and just a point behind fourth-place Chelsea. Next up is a trip to Stamford Bridge to take on Graham Potter’s side.