Cristiano Ronaldo issued Erik ten Hag ‘cooperation’ warning

Erik ten Hag on Cristiano Ronaldo staying at Man Utd

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Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been told by manager Erik ten Hag that he must “cooperate” if he has any intentions of forcing his way back into the Dutchman’s plans. Ronaldo started just one of the Red Devils’ opening five Premier League matches and has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford after missing the majority of pre-season and attempting to force a move away from the club.

United host top-of-the-table Arsenal on Sunday afternoon following three consecutive victories. And ahead of the showdown, Ten Hag addressed Ronaldo’s recent omissions. “As we said, Ronaldo is here,” exclaimed the 52-year-old. “And, as we all know, he didn’t have a pre-season. You cannot miss pre-season. It’s a base. Especially with the game we play, the way we want to play.

“We don’t play in the same way we did last year, there is no comparison. This demands cooperation and it demands certain positioning in – and out – of possession. The other thing is his fitness.”

Ronaldo joined United for a second time last summer after spending nine years at Real Madrid and three years with Juventus. And the 37-year-old bagged 18 goals during his maiden season back at Old Trafford.

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But the blockbuster star came in for heavy criticism at times as his side endured an egregious campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his interim successor Ralf Rangnick. The team were knocked out of the cup competitions in the early rounds and could only muster a sixth-place Premier League finish as they missed out on Champions League qualification. And Ronaldo was reluctant to stick around.

Ahead of the new season, the forward was absent from the Red Devils’ summer tour and was linked with the likes of Chelsea, Napoli and Bayern Munich. But the ace never got his move before the summer transfer window slammed shut on Thursday night. And Ten Hag will want the veteran to refocus and prove he still has what it takes to succeed in the Premier League.

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United suffered the ignominy of losing 2-1 at home to Brighton on the opening weekend of the campaign before they were thumped 4-0 at Brentford a week later. But the 13-time Premier League champions have looked much better in recent weeks and kick-started their season by defeating Liverpool 2-1, before seeing off Southampton 1-0 and Leicester by the same scoreline.

United climbed to eighth in the Premier League table ahead of their encounter with Arsenal. But they will need to be at the top of their game to get the better of the Gunners as Mikel Arteta’s men are yet to drop a point this season.

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