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SOCCER

Ten Hag on Cristiano‘s situation: “It’s clear...”

The Manchester United manager spoke about Cristiano Ronaldo’s future during the final hours of the transfer window.

Update:
Manchester United's Dutch manager Erik ten Hag (L) directs substitute Manchester United's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /
ADRIAN DENNISAFP

It has turned into one of the soap operas of the summer. Cristiano Ronaldo was absent during the first weeks of Manchester United’s pre-season due to family problems and on his return he found himself facing a pay cut. The consequence of not qualifying for the Champions League this season, which affected the entire squad. Not making the Champions League was a personal letdown too - as the all-time top scorer, it’s the competition that he wants to continue competing in. But in spite of all the rumours, and the little prominence he has had on the pitch since his return, the Portuguese ace has not found a way out of Old Trafford.

His only appearance in the starting XI was against Brentford, when United were served a humiliating 4-0 thrashing. Participation in subsequent victories against Liverpool and Southampton have been reduced to mere minutes at the end of each of those encounters. During the preview of Thursday’s duel against Leicester City, Erik ten Hag assured that Cristiano will be needed if United are to make a success of this season.

The Dutch coach also spoke about the clubs two most recent signings of the summer. Antony’s proposed arrival from Ajax, and the addition of goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, who joins from Newcastle. The latter has not yet been officially announced, but the player has already visited the club’s facilities.

Will Antony’s arrival restrict Ronaldo’s game time? He he still part of the plans?

It’s clear - of course. But like I’ve just said, we need quality players. You need more to cover all the game to keep the consistency goes, that’s what we strive for.

What's the situation with Antony?

First we have to sign him... There is an agreement between the clubs, but the paperwork is not done so I cannot go too deeply into it. We need to strengthen our attack because we have many games to cover, from now on we have three games a week - every third or fourth day. As as you know, especially with offensive players, they suffer from fatigue because they run more and play at a higher intensity. So we need numbers there, but not only quantity, we need quality.

Will it be available to play this weekend?

I hope so. It should be done because the market will already be closed by then.

Will there be more signings?

I think so. For this window, it will be the end (after Dubravka), but when there is a great opportunity, you have to be always alert at a top club.

The last two victories have brought an upturn in the team’s fortunes, has that been down to attitude?

It’s a start, I think we now have a good base. Bit that is the minimum of what we have to do. I am happy to see how we have turned the situation around, we have to keep that spirit to continue this winning mentality - you need it to have a successful season.

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