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Ten Hag: “I don’t know why Cristiano gets all the criticism”

The Manchester United manager excused the Portuguese star and shared out the responsibility for last weekend’s defeat at Brentford to the rest of the squad.

Soccer Football - Pre Season Friendly - Manchester United v Rayo Vallecano - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - July 31, 2022 Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag speaks with Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo during a drinks break Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes
ED SYKESAction Images via Reuters

Cristiano Ronaldo is still in the eye of the hurricane. But Erik ten Hag, his coach, defended the footballer this afternoon and insists he hopes to have the Portuguese star this season. The Dutch manager has not had an easy start on the bench at Old Trafford. He came to lead a revolution which, until now, is looking like a minor reform. The big targets of the summer transfer window have not arrived, and in the league the team lost the first two games. It is the first time since 1921 that a Manchester United coach has lost his first two league games. Ten Hag did not want to talk about the imminent arrival of Casemiro, but he did want to talk about the protests that the red devils fans have called for Monday. And Monday’s rivals, Liverpool.

What about Cristiano Ronaldo?

I don’t know why he is in particular in focus after Saturday. It was the team’s performance and the whole team’s attitude, including Ronaldo included. He’s in our plans, that’s all I can say.

Can you tell us something about Casemiro's arrival?

Under a player has signed, I cannot tell you anything.

Have you been able to analyze the defeat against Brentford again?

I think I made myself clear, I was definitely not happy with the performance at all. In football, you can talk about football, you can talk about planning or a philosophy but the basic stuff has to be good and that starts with the right attitude, so you need a fighting attitude on the pitch. I didn’t see that from Minute 1. It’s basic, you have to bring it in every game.

Liverpool up next, United’s fiercest rivals and the biggest game in England

I know all about the rivalry. We ave to win every game but especially this game. I know that.

How can you react to these two defeats?

Every game is different, but the philosophy and the plan will be the same. This week has been normal. For a manager, it’s normal that you watch a game, you have a plan - a way of playing, and then you check how the game went. You analyse it and see what went wrong and what was good. Obviously, a lot went wrong but as I say, you don’t have to talk about anything when the attitude isn’t right.

What do you think of the protests called by Manchester United fans?

I can only say that the owners want to win. We want the fans to be behind the club. I can understand but I haven’t been in the club that long to know all the background. We have to fight together. We have to be unified and fight together.


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