Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has stressed that he is keen to move on from Cristiano Ronaldo’s latest disciplinary breach and welcome the Portugal striker back into his squad.
Ronaldo has been dropped for Saturday’s trip to Chelsea after refusing to come off the bench in the recent 2-0 victory over Tottenham and leaving Old Trafford early – an act which he admitted saw him caught in ‘the heat of the moment’.
Amid calls for Ronaldo to be released from the club immediately, Ten Hag insisted he has no issue with the striker and is keen to keep him around for the remainder of the season if he learns his lesson from this latest incident.
“It’s for this game, and then we continue,” Ten Hag said when asked if Ronaldo’s suspension could go on for longer. “I’m open for that and for me that is a strike.
“What we stay in the statement is Cristiano remains an important part of the squad and I count on him for the rest of the season. We want to fulfil our ambitions.”
Asked if he both wants and expects Ronaldo to remain at Old Trafford for the entire campaign, Ten Hag simply responded: “Both.”
Despite his public stance, 90min understands that Ten Hag is ready to part ways with Ronaldo in January, having grown frustrated with the media circus that surrounds his every action, regardless of whether he plays or not.
Pressed on Ronaldo’s return to the squad, Ten Hag confirmed that he must speak with the striker before any decision is made but was keen to stress that does not mean he is planning to keep Ronaldo away from the team any longer.
“I don’t think so, no. That is not my purpose,” he added. “What I said, I don’t want to miss him. I want him to be in the squad, I want him to get in form for every game, because he has an impact.
“The expectations at Man Utd are really high. The ambitions are really high. Our fans and our stakeholders expect results, so then you have to act along certain standards. And you have to work every day along it. Cristiano is not in the squad, but he is training to keep himself fit to get ready for the next game coming up after Chelsea.”