Wantaway Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly unconvinced by what he has seen from Erik ten Hag’s first few weeks in the Old Trafford hotseat. The Dutchman’s strict management style is thought to have gone down badly with some members of the Red Devils’ camp amid feelings that they are being ‘punished’ for a poor start to the season.
Ten Hag has been given a baptism of fire in Manchester both on and off the pitch. A wave of players left the club at the end of last season and only three new signings have been brought in, the squad’s most accomplished star wants to leave and they sit bottom of the table.
An opening-weekend 2-1 loss at home to Brighton was certainly enough to spark concern, but a 4-0 hammering at Brentford was particularly damning as the hosts rattled in those four goals inside 35 minutes.
According to CBS Sports, Ronaldo has been forced to run ‘punishment laps’ in training and the new boss’ tough approach has been perceived as “needless and damaging for morale”.
The Portuguese veteran is also believed to have taken issue with a number of key incidents in recent weeks. For one, Ronaldo feels that the manager’s public criticism over his decision to leave before the final whistle of a pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano was unjustified.
He is also unconvinced by the school teacher, boot camp-style tactics that are being deployed in training. Ten Hag’s style supposedly isn’t translating well to the experienced members of United’s squad, despite the success he enjoyed with a young Ajax squad.
Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, is supposedly encouraging Borussia Dortmund to make an offer before the summer transfer window slams shut on September 1. BVB are now seen as the 37-year-old’s final shot of finding a Champions League team after Chelsea, Sporting Lisbon, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid distanced themselves from a potential deal.
Dauntingly, United’s next fixture comes on Monday night when they host bitter rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford. Last October, Jurgen Klopp’s side made the short trip from Merseyside and romped to a 5-0 victory thanks to a hat-trick from Mohamed Salah. Speaking to the Diary of a CEO podcast, club hero Gary Neville claims to feel sorry for his former side’s players.
“I do feel sorry for a lot of Man Utd players, and that won’t go down well with a lot of fans who say that they’re overpaid and bluffing it,” he admitted. “They’re not. I know some of those lads and they’re good lads.
“There’s a lack of confidence, they’re crying out for help. I wish they had Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane in the changing room, with Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand at centre-back and Peter Schmeichel in goal.”
- The Express report