• News

Ten Hag explains why Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t play in the Manchester derby

Cristiano Ronaldo
© Manchester United

Man Utd’s top scorer from last season was an unused substitute despite the club falling 4-0 down at half-time.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has claimed that he partly left Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench during the 6-3 defeat to Manchester City out of ‘respect’ for the forward.

Once again, Ten Hag started Marcus Rashford ahead of Ronaldo in the United attack on Sunday. He called up Anthony Martial to replace the Englishman in the 59th minute, but left CR7 rooted to the bench.

Victor Lindelof, Fred, Casemiro, and Luke Shaw also came on as substitutes during the derby humiliation.

“I wouldn’t bring him in out of respect for Cristiano, for his big career,” Ten Hag told reporters after the match in a press conference.

“The other thing was the advantage that I could bring on Anthony Martial. He needs the minutes, but I don’t want to point it out like that.”

Phil Foden and Erling Haaland’s hat-tricks sealed the three points for City on Sunday. The 6-3 loss also ended United’s four-match winning run in the Premier League, although Ten Hag’s side remain sixth in the standings.

Martial did score twice off the bench to salvage a little pride for the Red Devils after Antony pulled a goal back.

Next up for Ronaldo and the team is a trip to Cyprus on Thursday to play Omonia in the Europa League.