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Man United squad impressed by Erik ten Hag handling of Cristiano Ronaldo situation

Cristiano Ronaldo was left out of the Man Utd squad to face Chelsea on Saturday after he refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham.

Ronaldo arrives at Carrington last Thursday morning, hours after his indiscretion against Tottenham

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to return to Carrington for talks with Erik ten Hag today, but the Dutchman’s handling of the club’s star player over the last few days has been well received in the Manchester United dressing room.

The 52-year-old took decisive action in excluding Ronaldo from the squad to face Chelsea at the weekend after he refused to come on as a late substitute against Tottenham on Wednesday, before walking down the tunnel early and leaving Old Trafford.

Ronaldo was called into Carrington last Thursday morning to face Ten Hag, who told the forward he would not be included in the squad at the weekend as a punishment for his indiscretion. He was also ordered to train away from the rest of the first-team squad, who were preparing for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

The issue presented a challenge to Ten Hag, who is still in the infancy of his tenure at Old Trafford, but he took firm action against Ronaldo and was backed entirely by the club after making his decision.

It was a resolute stance from Ten Hag and sources close to the dressing room have said players were impressed by the delicate but authoritative way he handled the situation, leaving the door open for Ronaldo to return and insisting he remained a key part of the squad.

Ronaldo’s standing in the game made it a tricky issue for Ten Hag to navigate, but he made a swift decision on how to discipline the player, who has since been contrite on Instagram and has explained his actions.

There was an acceptance within the dressing room that Ronaldo would have to be punished for his actions, but his absence wasn’t felt on Wednesday night and didn’t overshadow the draw with Chelsea.

United’s players were euphoric in the home dressing room at Old Trafford on Wednesday, believing it was the best performance they’d put together in a long time. They secured a point they deserved at Stamford Bridge with Casemiro’s injury-time equaliser and on the pitch it has been a good week for Ten Hag.

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His approach has earned him plenty of respect within the squad and players are enjoying working under him, with some benefitting from his detailed instructions and clear demands.

The first team have had two days off since the game at Chelsea, so Ronaldo is due back at Carrington today (Tuesday) and is set for more face-to-face talks with Ten Hag.

The United manager wants to find a truce with the forward and reintegrate him into the squad, but he has stressed he will speak to Ronaldo again before that happens.

If the two find common ground then Ronaldo will return to first-team training and could be in the squad to take on FC Sheriff in the Europa League at Old Trafford on Thursday.


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