Ten Hag confirms Ronaldo ‘will play’ on Sunday after ‘unacceptable’ friendly loss to Atletico

Date published: Saturday 30th July 2022 6:20 - Jason Soutar

Erik ten Hag during a warm-up

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag did not hesitate to criticise his squad after their ‘unacceptable’ 1-0 friendly defeat against Atletico Madrid.

It has been a productive first summer in the dugout for the Dutch manager, who became Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s long-term successor in May.


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The Red Devils kicked off their pre-season with a convincing 4-0 victory over Liverpool, before wins against Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace.

However, since then, it is two games without a win following a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa and Saturday’s loss against Atletico.

Although results are not too important when it comes to friendlies, Ten Hag was less than impressed after his side threw away a two-goal lead against Villa.

He was perhaps even more frustrated on Saturday after failing to get a result in their match against Atletico – who knocked United out of the Champions League last term.

The 52-year-old was particularly disappointed with his side’s inability to convert at least one of the many chances they created.

“In the end it’s about the result, and the score was not good,” Ten Hag said (quotes via UtdPlug). “You have to take benefits if you create chances.

“I think we created many chances, to produce at least one goal and from less chances they create, they scored one — that point, I am not satisfied. I have told the team it is not acceptable, you have to be sharp in the box, both sides.”

Ten Hag did see the positives, however, admitting that he felt the overall performance was “really good”.

“I think we contributed really well, I think the performance from our team was really good,” he added.

“Our game, our possession and transition game was really good. We created a lot of threat, had weapons, we create opportunities, so that part I was really satisfied.”

United play another friendly on Sunday – against Rayo Vallecano – in Ten Hag’s first match at Old Trafford.

“The players that played from the start will not come on tomorrow,” he said. “Tomorrow we will have a different starting XI. There are players who came on [against Atletico] who can start tomorrow.”

Ten Hag also confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo – who reportedly wants to leave the club – will start against the Spanish side. It will be his first appearance under his new manager after returning to training earlier this week.

“Cristiano Ronaldo will play against Rayo Vallecano,” he confirmed. “Yes, he will be in the squad tomorrow. We’ll see how long he can play.”

On top of the result, the United – who had Fred sent off – boss was unhappy with Atletico’s aggressiveness in the friendly fixture.

“I like competitiveness, but with respect, I don’t want to have injuries as well,” Ten Hag said.

“That’s why you have to keep respect for each other, and I’ve seen some tackles that were over the limit.”

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