Cristiano Ronaldo: Manchester United forward must face consequences, says Erik ten Hag
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has said there “has to be consequences” after confirming Cristiano Ronaldo refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham on Wednesday.
Ronaldo, 37, left Old Trafford before full-time after leaving the bench and walking down the tunnel in the 89th minute of United’s 2-0 win.
He has been dropped for Saturday’s game at Chelsea and is training alone.
He added that after the Portugal international did the same at half-time of the friendly against Rayo Vallecano in pre-season, he felt he had to act.
“The talk is between Cristiano and me. The statement is clear. It is also in the statement that he remains an important part of the squad,” Ten Hag said.
“I am the manager, I am responsible for the culture here. I have to set standards and values and have to control them. We are in a team.
“After Rayo Vallecano, I said it was unacceptable, but it wasn’t just him. The second time there has to be consequences. That is what has happened.
“We miss him tomorrow, that is a miss for us and the squad, but I think it is important for the attitude and mentality of the group and now we have to focus on Chelsea – that is the most important.”
Ronaldo’s actions have been widely criticised, with Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker calling them “unacceptable” while former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel said this was the first time he had been “disappointed” in the player.
On Thursday, Ronaldo said “the heat of the moment” had got to him, though he stopped short of apologising.
He has scored just one goal in eight Premier League appearances this season, and also showed his displeasure at being substituted in Sunday’s 0-0 home draw with Newcastle.
United go into Saturday’s game at Stamford Bridge just one point behind Chelsea in fifth and Ten Hag said his players would not be distracted by this week’s drama.
“It’s part of playing in top football,” he said.
“There are rumours and noise and you can’t get distracted, you have to remain on the job and get the result.”