Erik ten Hag reviews Arsenal win
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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag wants to involve Cristiano Ronaldo more in the coming weeks, it has been claimed. The Portugal international has been a substitute for the club’s last four Premier League matches. However, he’s impressed after coming off the bench and will be hoping of getting more minutes under his belt in the coming games ahead.
Manchester United were rocked back in the summer when Ronaldo asked to leave, shortly after the club had failed to qualify for the Champions League.
However, the Portugal international was denied his wish with Ten Hag making it clear he saw the 37-year-old as a key part of his plans.
Ronaldo has, however, struggled for action at Old Trafford. He’s started just one game this season – the 4-0 defeat to Brentford – and has been overlooked for Marcus Rashford in the time since.
While that’s the case, though, the former Real Madrid and Juventus star has done well coming off the bench in recent weeks.
And Fabrizio Romano, writing for CaughtOffside, has claimed Ten Hag ‘wants to involve Ronaldo more’ as the games continue to come thick and fast.
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“All sources now tell me that Cristiano is working at the best level,” he said.
“He has never created a problem in training sessions and is respecting all the decisions of Erik ten Hag.
“Ronaldo has spent a lot of time on the bench, but Manchester United know that Ten Hag wants to involve him more and more in the coming weeks.”
Ronaldo missed pre-season due to a personal matter and, during the early stages of the season, seemed to be struggling for sharpness.
Yet with the veteran getting more accustomed to Ten Hag’s way of thinking, it’s feasible he’ll soon be reinstated to the team.
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Ronaldo coming on against Arsenal on Sunday arguably changed the game, with the Portugal international showing a willingness to press.
He was, though, overshadowed by Rashford – who stole the spotlight with a fine brace in the closing stages to give his side all three points.
And with Anthony Martial nearing a return from injury, it’ll be interesting to see whether Ronaldo can get into the starting XI once more.
The 37-year-old is expected to start up top when the Red Devils lock horns with Real Sociedad in the Europa League on Thursday.
And that’s a competition Ronaldo has never graced in the modern era, though he did play for Sporting Lisbon in the UEFA Cup during his teenage years.
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Ronaldo has a fine record against Sociedad, having faced them nine times in the past.
He’s won all nine matches against the La Liga side, netting in seven of those fixtures.
And that includes two hat-tricks, meaning Sociedad may be the perfect team for him to face as he looks to end his goal drought for the season.
United previously won the Europa League in 2017, when they beat Ajax 2-0 in the final courtesy of goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba.
Yet they experienced heartache in the final in 2021, losing to Villarreal on penalties under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
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Speaking recently, meanwhile, Ten Hag insisted Ronaldo was still capable of impacting the big games as he enters the twilight years of his career.
“He showed it last year and not that long ago so now he needs to fit in our way of playing, if he does that, he will decide the games because of his capabilities,” he said.
While Ronaldo has never played in the Europa League, he has won five Champions League titles throughout his career.
His first was with United back in 2008, when he played under Sir Alex Ferguson.
And he went on to claim four more with Real Madrid in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
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