Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag slept well after leaving Cristiano Ronaldo out of the Liverpool game
After a difficult start to the season with defeats to Brighton and Brentford, ten Hag took some bold decisions ahead of the Liverpool game at Old Trafford, including dropping superstar Ronaldo. The move paid out perfectly as United won that game 2-1 and started the renaissance.
That decision probably told us that the boss is not here to mess around. He has certain standards, and if they are not met by an individual, he won’t hesitate in dropping them. The Ronaldo saga dragged on too much in the summer, hence this was a pivotal moment early in the season.
Here’s what ten Hag said regarding that decision (h/t Manchester Evening News):
“I have to see and face the consequences of it, the impact of the decisions not only in the short-term but also for the longer-term. Of course, you don’t always have a lot of time, in that period I remember we had 10 days so I could consider which choice would be the best.
“I had reasons (for the decision). They were obvious. And I knew also the consequence and also if it was a negative outcome from that game. That is always possible in football.
“But I am not worrying. I sleep well also in those nights. I have to take the decisions in respect in advance of the club and the team. That is my job and that is the responsibility I have to take and I have to stand for those decisions.”
Going into the return fixture at Anfield later today, it is good that the manager does not have a similar decision to make in terms of dropping a star player. He now has a squad of players willing to give everything for the team and listen to their boss.
United have never had an easy game away at Liverpool. So, this won’t be different even though Jurgen Klopp’s men are not in their best shape and ten Hag’s team are flying high on form and confidence.
We have seen in the past that even a bad Liverpool side can make it tough for the best of United at Anfield, and vice versa.
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Ten Hag’s men are currently 13 points behind leaders Arsenal with two games in hand. Although that sounds like a long shot now, a win away against the arch-rivals will not only enhance the already high confidence of the team but also send shivers down the spine of the Gunners and Manchester City in the title race.