Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag says Cristiano Ronaldo gets frustrated when he doesn’t play, but dismissed suggestions the striker could be sold.
Ronaldo was an unused substitute in Sunday’s crushing 6-3 derby loss to Man City, with Ten Hag explaining after the game that he didn’t bring in the five-time Ballon d’Or winner ‘out of respect’.
The Portuguese striker has asked to leave United this summer and speculation over his future has intensified with Ronaldo reportedly third at centre-forward, but Ten Hag insists he is in good spirits.
“I don’t see him being unhappy,” said Ten Hag, ahead of Thursday’s Europa League group game against Omonia Nicosia. “He’s happy, he’s training well and he’s having fun.
“It has nothing to do with the future, what happens for January or next year,” Ten Hag said of his decision to keep Ronaldo on the bench.
“He’s not happy he didn’t play on Sunday, don’t get me wrong, but the question was about his mood in training, where he’s happy. Of course he wants to play and he’s crazy when he’s not playing. not.”
Erik ten Hag on Sunday’s derby loss
“We had a reality check with Man City. So thanks for the lesson, Pep and City. We have to understand, we have to do things a lot better.”
Why isn’t Casemiro playing?
Casemiro’s absence from the starting line-up against Man City has raised some eyebrows, with Ten Hag favoring Scott McTominay in the defensive midfield role so far this season.
Following Casemiro’s £70million transfer from Real Madrid at the end of the summer, it seemed inevitable that the Brazil international would immediately assume a starting role, but he has been largely sidelined.
Ten Hag says his decision to stay with McTominay was intended to foster a sense of competition in his squad as he rewarded the Scotland international’s impressive start to the campaign.
“It had nothing to do with Casemiro, everything had to do with Scott,” Ten Hag said.
“I’m sure Case will play a very important role. We know his background and the titles he has won.
“We see in training what he can bring and he will be a really important player for this team. I’m confident that will happen.”
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