Cristiano Ronaldo must face consequences – Erik ten Hag

Erik ten Hag says Cristiano Ronaldo must accept the consequences and possible backlash for the ‘misconduct’, meaning the Manchester United star is suspending the trip to Chelsea.

Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Tottenham was the Dutchman’s best overall performance but post-match talk was dominated by the 37-year-old’s early departure.

Ronaldo went down the tunnel before the clock had struck 90 minutes and left Old Trafford in a hurry, resulting in Ten Hag sending the forward off for Saturday’s game at Chelsea.

The frontman admitted on Instagram that “sometimes the heat of the moment brings out the best in us” and the United manager confirmed at his pre-match press conference that the Portuguese refused to come as a substitute.

“It’s a difficult decision, that’s clear,” said Ten Hag. “But I think there have to be consequences for the behavior, or if it’s bad behavior and it’s the second time, then you can’t let it go because it’ll be miserable for the future.”

“Then you have to take this measure, which I don’t like because I prefer the squad with Cristiano on board.

“It’s not about (showing who’s in charge). It’s about the club. Above all, I have to make decisions in the interests of the club and the team. This is my job.

“It doesn’t matter who it is, reputation or age. Even with my line-up, I have to pick the team that I think we have the best chance of winning.”

Ronaldo was also among those who left Old Trafford for a friendly against Rayo Vallecano in early July, prompting Ten Hag to underscore the importance of players staying to support their team-mates.

“I think everyone understands that both are unacceptable, so I don’t want to judge it,” he said of the incidents. “Both are unacceptable and that’s why he gets a few days off.”

Ronaldo could be back when United host Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League on Thursday, though reactions in the stands are likely to be less positive than usual.

The 37-year-old is adored by Old Trafford faithful after his outstanding first spell at the club but his latest theatrics are unlikely to have gone down well.

Ten Hag said that a tough reaction could welcome Ronaldo on his return, the Dutchman said: “I think (his popularity) is justified because he has achieved a lot in his career. I might not have to mention it, but it’s so brilliant.

“But he also has to be aware that how you behave today is always justified by the moment.

It’s not about (showing who’s in charge). It’s about the club. Above all, I have to make decisions in the interests of the club and the team. This is my job

Eric ten Hag

“Especially in top-class sport, in my opinion, it’s about today – it’s not about age, not about reputation.

“When you do elite sport you are always justified, you are judged by the moment and (how) you act. That is normal.

“We have to be aware of that – everyone, not just Cristiano, has to be aware of that as a team, as a manager, as a club.”

Ten Hag declined to speak about the January signings, saying: “I’m counting on Cristiano”, confirming he believes and wants the veteran to stay at United for the rest of the season.

“It’s for this game and then we’ll move on,” he said. “I’m open to that. For me this is a strike.

“What we said in the statement, we mean: Cristiano remains an important part of the squad and I’m counting on him for the rest of the season. We want to fulfill our ambitions.”

Ronaldo trained with fitness trainers on Friday while the rest of the group prepared for the trip to Chelsea and Ten Hag said they were chatting before he returned to the group.

Asked if his absence could extend beyond Monday, the United boss said: “I don’t think so, no. That is not my intention.

“What I said, I don’t want to miss him. I want him in the squad, I want him to get involved in every game because he has influence.”

Ten Hag concluded: “We set certain standards, but that goes for every player.” Cristiano Ronaldo must face consequences – Erik ten Hag

Fry Electronics Team

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