Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag didn’t bite his lip during a passionate team meeting last week ahead of Monday’s 2-1 win against Liverpool. Cristiano Ronaldo was the target of some home truths during the two-hour summit, with Ten Hag reportedly ‘sick’ of the wantaway forward’s antics.
According to The Sun, Ten Hag called a lengthy meeting last Thursday, where he urged his players to air any issues with him or their teammates without any consequences. And he used it as an opportunity to make his stance on Ronaldo clear amid intense speculation surrounding his Old Trafford future.
Ten Hag is understood to be tired of the circus the 37-year-old is attaching to the start of his rebuild at United and “just wants him out” of the club before the September 1 transfer deadline. The Dutchman was particularly peeved by Ronaldo taking to social media to promise he would reveal all in an interview after the transfer window.
Several Red Devils stars believe Ronaldo’s current aura is having a negative impact in the dressing room. In response, Ten Hag has stamped down his authority by telling his squad that they’ll either play by his rules or walk through the exit door as he seeks to turn around United’s torrid decade-long fortunes.
The report claims that after insisting on starting the discussion by axing Ronaldo, he invited every member of his squad to speak up ahead of the daunting task against Liverpool. But the Portuguese icon didn’t make his thoughts known, even after the United boss informed him and captain Harry Maguire that he planned to drop them for the Reds’ high-profile visit to Old Trafford.
Ten Hag was desperate to understand why his reign got off to such a miserable start with dire performances and results against Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford. And he got a response against Liverpool as Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford helped secure a memorable maiden victory at the helm.
Rashford was one player who is claimed to have spoken up, asking Ten Hag when he planned to play him as the central striker as he had promised in pre-season. He told him he would get his chance against Liverpool four days later, and the 24-year-old produced one of his best displays in recent memory.
His brutally honest persona has had the desired effect on his squad, with the report adding training during the days between the intense meeting and Liverpool had elevated to a level he hadn’t yet witnessed. But as long as it doesn’t seem like Ronaldo is willing to commit to his vision, he likely wouldn’t dispute his potential exit before 11pm on September 1.
- An Express report