Cristiano Ronaldo warned to get used to life on the bench by Erik ten Hag after missing Man Utd’s pre-season
ERIK TEN HAG has warned Cristiano Ronaldo to get used to life on the bench.
The Manchester United boss insists his Portuguese Galactico is paying the price for missing pre-season, when he staged his failed attempt to secure a move away from Old Trafford.
Ronaldo, 37, has only started one of United’s five matches this season – the disastrous 4-0 defeat at Brentford.
But since Ten Hag dropped the former Real Madrid and Juventus goal machine, United have won three in a row, heading into the home clash with table-topping Arsenal.
And Ten Hag suggested that Ronaldo is unlikely to start until he gets fully up to speed with his fitness and understanding of the new manager’s approach.
Ten Hag said: “As we all know, he didn’t have a pre-season and you cannot miss pre-season, it’s the base for everything, especially the way we play.
“We play another type of football compared to last year.
“The demands, the co-operation, the positioning, in and out of possession, and the fitness all depend on pre-season.
“I will be his friend and sometimes I will be his teacher, it depends on the situation.”
Former Ajax boss Ten Hag also defended his high-risk policy of bringing in players from the Dutch league – including £82million winger Antony, centre-back Lisandro Martinez and left-back Tyrell Malacia.
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He said: “First, the players we signed from Holland are internationals.
“Second, they performed really well in the Champions League.
“Third, they also have individual skills which show they are capable of playing high-intensity football.”
Centre-back Martinez, a £52m capture from Ajax, has attracted criticism and ridicule because of his 5ft 9in stature but he has played a key role in United achieving clean sheets in back-to-back away victories at Southampton and Leicester.
Ten Hag said: “He’s a ball player but also you see his defensive capabilities, his toughness, his positioning, his anticipation.
“I know what he’s capable of. He is doing well but he has to do much better.”
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