Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has explained that he took off Cristiano Ronaldo in his side’s match against Newcastle United to keep him fresh.
Ronaldo started for the Red Devils in their Premier League clash against the Magpies on Sunday (October 16). The Portuguese superstar had one goal ruled out for an infringement and another for offside, but didn’t cause too many problems for Newcastle otherwise.
He was eventually substituted in the 72nd minute for Marcus Rashford. It’s worth noting that he was the only player to be taken off by Manchester United, with all the other starters finishing the game.
Speaking after the match, Ten Hag attributed his side’s cramped fixture list to his decision to replace Ronaldo. He said (as quoted by ESPN):
“We have to recover four games in 10 days and especially for the strikers, I want to keep them fresh. I want to keep them all fresh, we have to rotate because of some problems we have.”
The Dutch tactician continued:
“[Anthony] Martial is not available in this moment, then Rashy [Rashford] was not well, so he did not have energy for the whole game. 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.”
In what was his first league start since August, Ronaldo had just 22 touches in 72 minutes of action. He got no shots on target, completed 11 off his 19 passes and won a foul (as per Sofascore).
Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United face some tricky fixtures going forward
Manchester United drew a blank against a resilient Newcastle United side at Old Trafford on Sunday. Erik ten Hag‘s men got just two out of their 15 shots on target and failed to create enough chances despite enjoying 63% of possession.
Newcastle, meanwhile, stifled the attacking trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Antony. Marcus Rashford and Fred came closest to scoring but failed to find the back of the net from extremely promising situations. The Magpies, meanwhile, hit the woodwork twice as the teams settled for a 0-0 draw.
The result leaves the Red Devils with plenty to think about ahead of a testing run of fixtures. They will host third-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday (Oct 19) before traveling to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea on October 22.
Following those two Premier League fixtures, Manchester United will play Sheriff Tiraspol in the UEFA Europa League on October 27. Ten Hag’s men will then return to league action with a clash against West Ham United, who are unbeaten in their last five matches across competitions.