Erik ten Hag believes Cristiano Ronaldo must get fit to play a role in his Manchester United system
Erik ten Hag believes Cristiano Ronaldo has the ability to fit into the new system at Manchester United and become a valuable part of the team. The Dutch manager wants the Portuguese to prove himself first, though.
Ten Hag joined the Old Trafford dugout earlier this summer as Ralf Rangnick completed his spell as the United manager. The former Ajax coach has brought the same principles that made him successful in Amsterdam to Manchester.
Speaking to Sky Sports (h/t Manchester Evening News), Ten Hag is confident that Ronaldo’s quality and consistency will no doubt make the Portuguese a key member of the new United side.
“I think he can.
“But to start with he has to get fit, he’s just started. He is a fantastic football player, he proved it so many times, but you can always be judged on what you are now, what you are presenting now, performing now.
“So the team and Cristiano himself have to prove it.”
Ronaldo missed most of the pre-season that Ten Hag made use of to inculcate his ideas to the Man United squad. The training sessions have looked different under the Dutch manager and the players will need time to get up to speed with the new ideas on show.
By missing most of the team talks and drills with the squad under Ten Hag, the Portuguese has left himself unprepared for the start of the new season. Ronaldo looked off the pace in the game against Rayo Vallecano.
The 37-year-old seemingly wants a move away from Manchester, but for now, he’s here. In order to be a part of the new manager’s team, Ronaldo needs to quickly pick up on the gaffer’s style of play.
One thing that fans criticised last season was the lack of pressing from United. Ralf Rangnick’s appointment brought hope, but the team still lacked the energy and will to make a difference.
The pre-season under Ten Hag has looked promising and hopefully a turnaround in attitude and fortunes is on the cards. The players look more up for it now and there have been glimpses of the team pressing the opposition. We also seem to be better at keeping the ball in tight spaces.
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Hopefully, Ronaldo ends up staying at the club. The Dutch manager doesn’t have a proven goalscorer in the team apart from the Portuguese. However, fans will be optimistic about Ten Hag being able to fit the 37-year-old in his XI.