Ronaldo request made by Sporting boss ahead of potential Man Utd clash

Real Sociedad V Manchester United In Pictures

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Sporting boss Ruben Amorim has pleaded with Erik ten Hag to keep Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for Manchester United if the two clubs are drawn against each other in the upcoming Europa League play-offs. The Portuguese outfit were eliminated from their Champions League group as the third-placed finishers, meaning they have been dropped to UEFA’s second-tier club competition ahead of the knockout stages.

They will be forced to go through a play-off against a team that finished second in their Europa League group, with the likes of United, PSV Eindhoven and Roma among their potential opponents. Amorim has insisted that he wants Sporting to avoid drawing the Red Devils but if they end up facing each other, he would like Ronaldo to stay on the bench in order to prevent the 37-year-old from scoring against his former side.

“We don’t want Manchester United, but if we have to come, Ronaldo stays on the bench, so he doesn’t score goals,” said Amorim, via Radio Renascenca.

United look set to face a tricky test in the Europa League play-offs regardless of which team they face, with a number of Europe’s biggest hitters on the other side of the draw. Sporting have been joined by Barcelona, Juventus and Ajax in crashing out of the Champions League at the very first hurdle, while Bayer Leverkusen, Sevilla, Red Bull Salzburg and Shakhtar Donetsk will also be involved in the play-off round.

JUST IN: Harry Kane urged to make Man Utd transfer call at end of the season

The Red Devils are guaranteed to play the second leg at home, which should give them a welcome advantage as they look to progress into the latter stages of the Europa League with an aggregate victory over the course of the two matches. Ten Hag insisted after United’s win over Real Sociedad in midweek that he still believes they can go all the way in the tournament but outlined his plan to take things one step at a time rather than focusing too much on the bigger picture.

“I think we played a good route in the group, we win five times, only one defeat and the defeat is by a penalty where you can have discussions,” said the United boss.

“Of course we wanted to win today with two goals’ difference, to be number one. That was the aim, we didn’t succeed but after the winter, we are still there to win the Europa League and that is always but we have to go from round to round.

“We have to focus on that next round and that is what we will do. We have to wait for the draw. We have two extra fixtures and it’s a hard season but we have a squad, we have to deal with that and we will do.”

The draw for the Europa League play-off round will take place at UEFA’s headquarters in Switzerland on Monday, with the ties set to be played on February 16 and February 23. The eight runners-up from the group stage will be seeded and placed into Pot One, while the eight third-placed teams from the Champions League group stages are unseeded and will go into Pot Two.

Want the latest Premier League news as we publish it on Express Sport? Join our Facebook group by clicking here.

Source: Read Full Article