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‘Respect’ – Why Cristiano Ronaldo was left on the bench for the entirety of the Manchester Derby

The veteran attacker’s coach has spoken out late on Saturday

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag has, on Saturday evening, provided an insight into his decision to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench throughout the 90 minutes of the club’s latest outing.

Ten Hag’s troops, of course, were back in action a short time ago.

In their first outing on the back of the international break, the Red Devils made the daunting trip to the Etihad, hopeful of keeping alive a fine recent stretch of Premier League form at the expense of rivals and champions Man City.

When all was said and done in the latest edition of the derby, though, the afternoon’s visitors were brought crashing firmly back down to earth.

This came as hat-tricks on the part of not one, but both of Erling Haaland and Phil Foden gave rise to a remarkable 6-3 final scoreline at the Etihad.

Whilst all associated with Manchester United, evidently, enjoyed an afternoon to forget on Sunday, one member of the Red Devils’ ranks to have been left downright forlorn came in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo.

This came as the rejuvenated Marcus Rashford was instead chosen to lead the line for the visitors.

What proved altogether more surprising, though, was the fact that, even with his side trailing, Ronaldo was not introduced to the fray for a single minute of action.

Speaking to the expectant media post-match, Erik ten Hag, as a result, was drawn on the continued absence of his talismanic frontman.

And the Dutchman went on to suggest that, in fact, he opted to leave Ronaldo on the sidelines as a sign of ‘respect’.

In addition, United’s boss viewed the latter stages of the clash as an opportunity to afford the returning Anthony Martial – who went on to bag a brace on the day – some much-needed game-time:

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Conor Laird

Die-hard Juventus fan with a love for all things Italian, and a real soft spot for Arsenal cult heroes. Emmanuel Eboue, Nicklas Bendtner, Philippe Senderos... Give them all statues outside the Emirates.

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