Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have defended his club's manager's words on Cristiano Ronaldo.
Erik Ten Hag has been criticised for not subbing on the Portuguese superstar during their 6-3 defeat to Manchester City. The Dutchman made all 5 substitutions during the game with not one being Ronaldo.
Instead, the former Ajax coach chose Antony Martial to replace forward Marcus Rashford at 4-1 down. Ronaldo had to sit on the bench and watch as Phil Foden and Erling Haaland both completed their hattricks against his club. Martial would score two to slightly improve the score line for United.
Respect for his career
Speaking to Sky Sports after the derby defeat, the Dutchman defended his substitutions saying that he did not put on Ronaldo due to respect for his career.
I wouldn't bring him in out of respect for Cristiano, for his big career.
🎙️ "I wouldn't bring him in out of respect for Cristiano, for his big career"
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag on why he left Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench...🔴⬇️ pic.twitter.com/1LzPyINdfC
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 2, 2022
Manager Under Fire
His stance on Ronaldo have been criticised by many. Piers Morgan described Erik Ten Hag as a twerp for not bringing on the Portuguese superstar during their biggest game of the season. Gary Neville who played with Ronaldo under Alex Ferguson disagreed with Morgan. The Sky Sports pundit stated that bringing him on whilst losing 4-0 and 6-1 would have been a bigger insult.
I get his point to be honest . Bringing him on at 4-0 and 6-1 would have been an insult . ETH may not have delivered the line correctly and probably would have been best not saying it. ( although I like his honesty ) https://t.co/06sP310tWF
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) October 2, 2022
Meanwhile on Twitter today, Carragher repeated an old stance that Ronaldo is a liability for Manchester United.
The idea that ETH got it wrong yesterday by not playing Ronaldo is laughable!
Ronaldo played at Brentford when it was 4-0 at ht!!
It’s not a dig at CR, but Rashford’s pace on the counter attack as we saw v Arsenal/Liverpool was 💯the best option.
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) October 3, 2022
After being linked with many Champions League clubs during the summer, the 5-time Ballon D'or winner had to stay at Old Trafford. He has endured a torrid beginning to the season, his only start coming in a humiliating 4-0 loss at Brentford.
Since then, his only appearances have come off the bench in the Premier League. Ten Hag seems to prefer quick forwards who are capable of pressing, which Ronaldo can't do at the age of 37.
United seemed to be improving without the presence of the superstar in the starting line-up with wins over Liverpool and Arsenal. However, after this setback by the champions, Ronaldo might yet get a chance to change Ten Hag's mind about him.