Manchester United’s players are supportive of Erik ten Hag’s stance on Cristiano Ronaldo after he was banished from training after his recent tantrum.
The 37-year-old stormed down the tunnel before the end of Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Tottenham and it was later confirmed by Ten Hag that the player had refused to come on as a substitute in the game.
Having also left a pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano early, the United manager felt Ronaldo’s latest disciplinary breach needed to be punished and he has been axed from the squad that will face Chelsea on Saturday and also made to train with the reserves.
It was initially unclear whether the former Real Madrid and Juventus star had also been fined, but widespread reports claim he has been docked two weeks’ wages – which is around £720,000.
According to The Times, the majority of the United squad have backed their manager’s decision even though they are conscious of their lack of attacking options at the moment.
The Red Devils will visit Stamford Bridge without Ronaldo and Anthony Martial – who is struggling with a back problem – leaving only Rashford to lead the line, but the general consensus among the players is that Ten Hag needed to come down hard on Ronaldo.
The Sun even went further, claiming Ronaldo’s latest actions have completely alienated him from his team-mates with the attacker having now lost the backing of his allies at Carrington.
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A number of players were already upset with the Portuguese star for trying to engineer a move in the summer and failing to report to training, with his latest tantrum considered the final straw by some players.
Speaking about his decision to reprimand Ronaldo, Ten Hag said on Friday: ‘I’m the manager. I’m responsible for the culture and I have to set standards and values, and I have to control them.
‘We are in a team and in a team we have standards and values, and we have to control it. So after Rayo Vallecano I said it was not acceptable, but he was not the only one. That was for everyone.
‘So when it’s the second time, that will have consequences, and that is what we did. So we miss him tomorrow and that is a miss for us and the squad.
‘It’s a miss, but I think it’s important for the attitude for the mentality for the group, and now we have to focus on Chelsea and that is the most important [thing].’