Erik ten Hag

Dutch coach Foppe de Haan has lauded Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag for his handling of superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo this season.

Ten Hag led the Red Devils to a fantastic pre-season but had to do much of it without Ronaldo, who was absent due to personal reasons. The Portuguese reportedly let the club know of his intentions to leave in search of UEFA Champions League football, but could not find any suitors this summer.

Eventually, Ronaldo, who is into the final year of his contract, had no option but to stay on at Manchester United until at least January 2023. He has largely been deployed off the bench by Ten Hag, who seems to have assembled a solid Red Devils side without the serial goalscorer.

Speaking to De Telegraaf, De Haan lauded the former AFC Ajax manager for the manner in which he has dealt with Cristiano Ronaldo. He said (as quoted by the Mirror):

“They [United managers] all had a lot of trouble with that [the players] after [Sir] Alex Ferguson. He was also very clear immediately towards Cristiano Ronaldo. That was good. He sat on the bench against Arsenal and is smiling again.”

The former SC Herenveen manager went on to add:

“That is very clever. Trust is very important, then you also give that to another. Then you dare and you don’t see an enemy behind every tree.”

De Haan also praised the Manchester United boss’ tactical acumen, stating:

“With Ten Hag, people often think: what kind of man is that? But when he starts talking about football, you immediately know wait a minute, this guy knows what he wants.”

He continued:

“He really has an idea and makes it trainable. He makes demands, is very clear about them and seems completely reliable in the things he wants and does.”

He concluded:

“Ten Hag has also noticed where football is heading. The game in small spaces and the extremely physical. Not in the sense of power-boys, but who are quick and skilful and can run. You have to be able to run, run, run’ he once said. That’s true too. And you have to have guts.”

Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to score for Manchester United this season

Cristiano Ronaldo ended the 2021-22 season as one of the lone positives for Manchester United. In his first campaign back with the Red Devils, he scored 24 goals in 38 matches across all competitions to end up as their top-scorer.

However, the ongoing campaign hasn’t been too kind to Ronaldo. He has featured in all six of United’s Premier League games but hasn’t scored.

Many fans hoped he would find the back of the net during their UEFA Europa League fixture against Real Sociedad last week. However, Ronaldo failed to do so as Manchester United fell to a 1-0 defeat.

He will look to open his account for the season on Thursday (September 15) when Ten Hag’s men take on Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League.

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