In the summer of 2022, Cristiano Ronaldo tried with all his might to leave Manchester United, which is not in the Champions League. For the sake of this, the Portuguese even agreed to move to Atlético, but in the end he stayed in Manchester. From the very beginning of the season, Ten Hag put the Portuguese on the bench. “Ronaldo had a very short pre-season. He only started training last week and only played 45 minutes on the pitch in a friendly. He’s not at the same level of fitness as the rest of the team. From the matches of the new season, we already see that football in the Premier League is hard and intense, with high pressure, ”Ten Hag said at the beginning of the season.
In the 2022/23 season, Cristiano took part in 8 matches. During this period, the Portuguese only 3 times left in the starting lineup, in 2 cases these were matches of the Europa League. His first Ronaldo scored in 2 game of the Europa League against Sheriff. In the Premier League, he has only 1 full match. It was the same game against Brentford that ended in a 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United. What is the reason why Ronaldo plays so little? Let’s figure it out.
One of the main reasons is the pre-season, which Ronaldo had almost no. Ten Hag gave the team his style all summer, but Ronaldo was not in the team at that moment. And this is where the second reason comes from.
Second reason – Ten Hag style, which is focused on team play. All players work without exception and play the one who deserves it in training. For example, the team captain – Harry Maguire remained on the bench.
Third reason – rivalry. Anthony joined the team for 100 million euros and such a player cannot sit on the bench. Marcus Rashford has 3 goals and 2 assists in 6 games and can still improve. The same can be said about Sancho, who fits very well with the style of the head coach. Apparently Ten Hag decided on the attacking trio. The Anthony-Rashford-Sancho trio is playing very well. Manchester United have won 4 Premier League matches in a row, including victories over Liverpool and Arsenal. Anthony did not play in all games, but before him, Elanga showed himself perfectly.
Ten Hag’s football so far works at best half (often even less), but the Dutchman is well aware of the limitations. It was this understanding that helped to issue a 4-match winning streak. Positive segments put Manchester United in a leading position, and then there is a gradual movement towards their goal, turning into bus mode by the end of the match.
This was not only yesterday, but also with Liverpool, Southampton and Leicester. This process looks controlled (to a certain extent, of course) – Ten Hag helps the team at such moments with logical defensive substitutions. That is, he does not try to regain the initiative, but tries to help him exist in this mode. This is the understanding of the limitations of the team.
For now, Ronaldo remains to get in shape in the Europa League games and show his maximum during substitution calls. He will return to the starting lineup only if he returns to his best form.