Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said he substituted Cristiano Ronaldo in their 0-0 draw with Newcastle to keep him fresh for upcoming Premier League fixtures against Tottenham and Chelsea.
Ronaldo made way for Marcus Rashford in the 71st minute after another poor performance which included him being flagged offside, having a goal disallowed and being booked.
It was not Ronaldo’s display that caused the substitution, though, with Ten Hag instead pointing towards the build-up in fixtures over the next week:
“We have to cover four games in 10 days and especially for the strikers, I want to keep them fresh,” Ten Hag explained. “I want to keep them all fresh, we have to rotate there.
“Some problems we have - Martial is not available in this moment, then Rashy was not well, so he did not have energy for the whole game, so we had to plan to cover for the four games because we want to win or at least get a result in all four games.
“We didn’t have some players; Christian Eriksen not available, Anthony Martial not available, Scott McTominay not available. So that was the feeling I had.
“I brought freshness with Rashy, he had an impact, if he scores the goal everything is right but we have to accept and see this as the next step in our development, our progress, deal with this in the next game and it’s a big game.”
Manchester United play Tottenham on Wednesday, Chelsea on Saturday and then Sheriff on Thursday next week.