Erik ten Hag has insisted that under no circumstances will he accept Manchester United players leaving early from matches – as Cristiano Ronaldo and Diogo Dalot did.
New United boss Ten Hag is trying to get his Old Trafford project off the ground this summer. He has enjoyed a solid pre-season so far and also made two signings with more hopefully to follow.
But Ronaldo’s future has hung around as a key United problem for the club to sort out. The 37-year-old reportedly wants out, not content with playing Europa League football next season.
Reports have added that Man Utd are insisting he is not for sale. And Ten Hag has previously confirmed that Ronaldo features in his plan for his first campaign as manager.
But Ronaldo caught the headlines again on Sunday. After playing the first 45 minutes of his side’s 1-1 pre-season draw with Rayo Vallecano, he left Old Trafford early. A United source spoke of the disappointment at the player’s actions, but the club reportedly had no problems with him making an early dart.
However, Ten Hag has now offered his final say on the situation.
Speaking to Dutch outlet Viaplay, the manager said: “I certainly don’t condone this, This is unacceptable. For everyone.
“We are a team and you have to stay until the end.”
Earlier in the interview, Ten Hag had stressed that Ronaldo missed United’s pre-season tours because of family reasons.
On Sunday, the Portugal star was not the only player to leave early. His fellow countryman Dalot also departed before the final whistle.
Ronaldo has returned to training, but Ten Hag insisted on Sunday that he is “definitely not on the level of our squad players” ahead of the Red Devils’ Premier League opener against Brighton.
Ten Hag laying down Man Utd law to Ronaldo
The Ronaldo situation at Man Utd needs resolving one way or the other, but Ten Hag is going about it the right way.
If he is not able to find a move away, Ten Hag has shown that he will be fair with Ronaldo and include him in his plans.
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However, Ronaldo must hold up his end of the bargain by committing to training and forming part of the team.
It remains unclear whether the forward will leave before the September 1 transfer deadline, but the fact that Ten Hag has now set his stall out offers clarity on where the situation could go next.