‘No player is happy’ – Erik ten Hag responds to angry Ronaldo outburst

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag has insisted he had “no problem” with Cristiano Ronaldo’s furious reaction at being substituted off against Newcastle United.

Ronaldo started the clash at Old Trafford, but was taken off with 18 minutes left to go, to be replaced by Marcus Rashford.

The Portuguese star made his anger at Ten Hag’s decision clear, as he stormed off the pitch. He had seen a goal disallowed by referee Craig Pawson.

With Ronaldo on the bench, United were unable to find a way past Nick Pope in the Magipes’ goal, with the draw seeing them slip three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

It is not the first time Ronaldo has had a furious reaction to Ten Hag’s decision-making. But the manager said he is happy for those public displays to continue, as United prepare to face Tottenham.

“I think no player is happy when he [is taken] off, and especially not Ronaldo, I understand that. As long as it is [done] in a quite a normal way, [I have] no problem with that,” the United manager said.

“He is, of course, convinced that he should stay on and he should score a goal. That is why he is that good. I know it [the hat-trick], but, and, of course, when you line up several facts you take count of, but also other facts you take count of.”

Ronaldo could keep his place in the starting line-up against Spurs at Old Trafford, as Ten Hag confirmed that Anthony Martial is ruled out with injury, though he did admit the team will need to be rotated ahead of the World Cup.

“Anthony Martial, he is not available. He is back on the pitch but not in the team training. Christian Eriksen returned in the team training today and we have to see how that works out, how he will recover, whether tomorrow he has the energy. So we have to wait for that,” he added.

“From the start of the season, tried to plan that, the overload of players. You see around, with many clubs now, injuries are coming up. And you can’t avoid everything because it’s top football. In top football, they go to the limits and injuries will come.

“With this many games in a long season, and also what’s a huge problem is that players don’t get a break in the summer. So a huge overload on the players, so they can’t recover, so you have to manage that. So you have to protect the players as a manager to get the best out of them.

“Not only from the risk of injury but also to keep them in the right form in the end of the season. You have to rotate, you need a squad. You need more than 11 players so you can rotate and you have to keep everyone fresh to avoid big injuries as much as you can, and to get them in the right shape and to keep them in the right shape and the right form.”

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