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Cristiano Ronaldo was Erik ten Hag's fourth choice as Man Utd captain against Aston Villa

Cristiano Ronaldo was Erik ten Hag's fourth choice as Man Utd captain against Aston Villa

Ronaldo wore the armband as United slipped to a 3-1 loss against Aston Villa

Erik ten Hag has revealed Cristiano Ronaldo was his fourth choice as Manchester United captain for Sunday's 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa.

The Portugal international started up front at Villa Park, being handed the captain's armband for the first time since January.

It wasn't a game to remember for Ronaldo, however, as United's nine-game unbeaten run came to an end. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was also booked for an incident involving Villa centre half Tyrone Mings.

Ronaldo being named skipper came as a shock to many given events over the the last month.

The 37-year-old refused to come on as a substitute in a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur last month which saw him dropped for the following weekend's 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

Ronaldo's since returned to the first-team squad, but ten Hag admitted there were other candidates for the armband.

Among those were Casemiro, who only joined from Real Madrid in the summer.

He explained: "Harry Maguire is on the bench, our captain of the club. Then it is about David de Gea who is a leader but is a goalie and is far away from the outfield.

"Then Casemiro is the leader but he is not speaking perfect English so then Cristiano is the leader."

Ronaldo during the game. (Image

Bruno Fernandes, who has worn the armband when Maguire isn't in the first XI, was suspended for the game.

United found themselves behind after seven minutes thanks to Leon Bailey's strike. Villa, under new manager Unai Emery for the first time, went 2-0 up four minutes later through a lovely Lucas Digne free-kick.

The away side halved the deficit just before halftime when Luke Shaw's speculative effort deflected in off Jacob Ramsey.

Ramsey responded to that immediately after the break by restoring Villa's two-goal lead.

It's Villa's first Premier League win over United at Villa Park since 1995 and they managed to limit United's attempts on goal.

Jacob Ramsey celebrates scoring Villa's third goal. (Image

Ten Hag lamented his team trying to find Ronaldo with 'stupid' crosses.

He continued: "No, I think it was stupid to do that [often look for Ronaldo in the air].

"We delivered too many quick crosses in from too far away. There was too much forcing and we didn't have to.

"We have to find the crosses in the right moments. The right moment was when Christian Eriksen did so in the first half, and the moment was when he found Cristiano in the pocket at the far post. That was the right moment."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy & Sky Sports

Topics: Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United, Erik Ten Hag