Erik ten Hag says he will “deal with” Cristiano Ronaldo after he left Old Trafford before full-time in Manchester United’s 2-0 victory over Tottenham.
Unused substitute Ronaldo was seen walking down the touchline and up the tunnel in the closing stages of Wednesday’s match at Old Trafford.
The 37-year-old watched from the stands as goals from Fred and Bruno Fernandes saw United overcome Spurs to move within a point of the Premier League’s top four, but Ronaldo saw enough when Ten Hag chose not to bring him off the bench.
Asked whether Ronaldo had spoke to him before walking down the tunnel before the completion of the match, United boss Ten Hag told Amazon Prime: “He was there, I have seen him, but I didn’t speak with him.”
In his post-match press conference, Ten Hag added: “I don’t pay attention to that, I will deal with that tomorrow. I want to keep the focus on the team.
“It was magnificent from all 11 players. I have to correct myself. It was also a performance from the substitutes who came on. Once again, it was a squad performance. I think what we have seen is 11 players who defend and 11 who attack. I was pleased.
Cristiano Ronaldo has a habit of grabbing the headlines, but not even his sulking departure could detract from another encouraging stride in the right direction taken by Erik ten Hag’s players.
Ronaldo, an unused substitute, was unhappy with the watching brief he was handed as goals from Fred and Bruno Fernandes earned a deserved 2-0 victory over Tottenham, but when United perform to such a high level, his frustrations are baseless.
From start to finish, United took a poor Spurs side to task, demonstrating their continued adaptation to Ten Hag’s methods with an attacking display as comprehensive as any seen at Old Trafford in memory, let alone since the Dutchman took charge.
United’s 28 attempts on goal was the most by any side in a Premier League match this season, the most Antonio Conte had ever conceded in his top-flight managerial career, and had it not been for the heroics of Hugo Lloris, the scoreline would have been just as emphatic.
With Ronaldo on the bench against Liverpool, Arsenal and now Spurs, games United have won with increasing proficiency, it’s clear the club’s transition to life without him is already under way. His petulance will only speed that up.