Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has criticised Cristiano Ronaldo and other players for leaving Old Trafford before the end of the club’s final pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano last weekend, describing the behaviour as ‘unacceptable’.
Ronaldo only played the first half and was later pictured seen by fans outside heading away from the stadium while the game was still going on. Diogo Dalot, who wasn’t involved in the game after playing just 24 hours earlier in a friendly against Atletico Madrid, was also seen in those images.
It was unclear at the time as to whether Ronaldo and others had permission to go, but now Ten Hag has responded and is not happy.
“I certainly don’t condone this. This is unacceptable. For everyone,” he told Viaplay.
“We are a team and you have to stay until the end.”
Poor attitude was among the main complaints levelled at United players last season, with successive managers in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick unable to get the best out of what is otherwise a very talented squad.
Listen now to 90min’s Manchester United podcast, The Promised Land, with Scott Saunders & Rob Blanchette. In the latest edition they discuss expectations for the forthcoming campaign under Erik ten Hag. They discuss top four prospects, if United are actually ambitious in the transfer market and the latest on Frenkie de Jong & Cristiano Ronaldo.
Discipline and fitness have been key pillars of Ten Hag’s short time in charge, seeking to prepare United to finally challenge at their level after years of underachieving.
Both Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have spoken in recent weeks about the high intensity in training sessions this summer.
“I think, on behalf of us last year, we know we need to do more: we need to be fitter, we need to be physically better and we need to be mentally better,” Maguire admitted after facing Liverpool in a friendly in Thailand last month.