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Erik ten Hag explains why Cristiano Ronaldo is happy at Manchester United ahead of Europa League clash

Cain Smith

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Erik ten Hag explains why Cristiano Ronaldo is happy at Manchester United ahead of Europa League clash

The rumours of Cristiano Ronaldo wanting out of Manchester United for a second time have only gained more pace after the Portugal international was left on the bench in United’s 6-3 defeat against Manchester City.

Throughout the summer transfer window, Ronaldo had been linked with a move to Chelsea, Napoli, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid, though no move materialised before the deadline.

On Monday, The Telegraph’s James Ducker and Jason Burt exclusively revealed that Erik ten Hag would not stand in Ronaldo’s way of leaving United should an offer come in for him in the January transfer window.

Ahead of United’s Europa League clash against Cypriot side Omonia Nicosia however, Ten Hag said there are no problems with Ronaldo around the side.

He said: “I did not bring him on out of respect [vs Manchester City]. It has nothing to do with the future or January.

"I don’t see him as unhappy. He is happy, training well and enjoying.”

Ten Hag continued: “He’s not happy that he didn’t play Sunday, don’t get me wrong, but the question was about his mood in training, where he is happy.

Ronaldo on the bench vs City. (Image Credit: Alamy)
Ronaldo on the bench vs City. (Image Credit: Alamy)

“Of course, he wants to play and he’s p***** off when he’s not playing.”

In the seven Premier League games United have played this season, Ten Hag has often opted to go with Marcus Rashford as the lone striker.

Ronaldo has only started once in the league in a 4-0 defeat to Brentford, but the United boss feels the five-time Ballon d’Or winner still has the fire in his belly we’ve all gotten used to seeing from Ronaldo.

“He is training well. He is in a good mood. He is motivated and he gives his best and this is what we expect," Ten Hag added.

Ronaldo and his United teammates in training. (Image Credit: Alamy)
Ronaldo and his United teammates in training. (Image Credit: Alamy)

Following on from Sunday though, Ronaldo’s task to cement himself as Ten Hag’s first choice striker has only got a whole lot more difficult.

At the Etihad, Frenchman Anthony Martial returned from a four-week layoff on the side-lines having picked up an Achilles injury in late August.

Martial netted twice in the defeat and the 26-year-old has shown encouraging signs in the games he has played in under Ten Hag.

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With a Europa League fixture against Omonia on Thursday, Ronaldo could see himself start the encounter and attempt to jumpstart his campaign.

He scored in United's last game in Europe from the penalty spot in a 2-0 win against FC Sheriff, however, he will be looking to improve his performance level this time around.

Then comes an important Premier League clash against Everton on Sunday as the Reds aim to put the latest defeat against Manchester City behind them.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo, Erik Ten Hag

Cain Smith
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