Cristiano Ronaldo was again not in the starting line-up, even against a strong opponent like Klopp’s Liverpool he was again a substitute.
It seemed like the perfect time to record Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United hosted Liverpool and it looked like a perfect day for the CR7 to return to the starting line-up to score, but the line-up surprised everyone.
Cristiano Ronaldo was not in the starting lineup once again, even against a strong opponent like Klopp’s Liverpool, he was once again a substitute.
It seemed like the perfect time to incorporate Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United received Liverpool and it seemed like a perfect day for the CR7 to return to the starting lineup to score, however, the lineup surprised everyone.
The three strikers on this occasion were Rashford, Sancho, and Elanga, who is just 20 years old, and it seems like he may have taken the place of Cristiano Ronaldo.
He spoke openly to the press
Before the start of the match, and in front of the Sky Sports cameras, the coach of the ‘red devils’ explained the reason for these changes in the starting eleven, seeing also the substitution of Maguire, Wan-Bissaka, and Shaw. “You look in relation to each game and we are a team, we have a lot of games to cover and we think that making these changes is the best thing for this one. We started today with this lineup, but nothing is set in stone for the future,” he said.
Then he addressed the elephant in the room
Then, when he was asked directly about Cristiano, Ten Hag was very clear. “We know Liverpool is a very good team with possession and we need to press them, doing it out of the block, so we need a lot of energy. Also in transition, we can beat them, that’s why we started with Elanga, Rashford and Sancho up front,” Erik Ten Hag he continued with statements that the Portuguese must not have liked very much.
Finally, Cristiano Ronaldo joined the rest of the Red Devils in the 85th minute, in substitution for Marcus Rashford, while looking very unfriendly and he barely touched the ball. It seems that it’s an all-out war.
The three strikers on this occasion were Rashford, Sancho and Elanga, who is just 20 years old, and it looks like he has taken the place of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Tears for Casemiro and Ancelotti as Real Madrid say goodbye to Brazilian
He spoke openly to the press
Before the start of the game, and in front of Sky Sports’ cameras, the ‘red devils’ coach explained the reason for these changes in the starting XI, including the substitutions of Maguire, Wan-Bissaka and Shaw. “You look in relation to every game and we are a team, we have a lot of games to cover and we think making these changes is best for this one. We started with this lineup today, but nothing is set. for the future,” he said.
Then he spoke to the elephant in the room
When he was asked directly about Cristiano, Ten Hag was very clear. “We know that Liverpool are a very good team with possession of the ball and we have to put pressure on them, so we need a lot of energy. Also in the transition we can beat them, that’s why we started with Elanga, Rashford and Sancho at the front,” he continued. Erik Ten Hag with statements that the Portuguese must not have liked so much.
Finally, Cristiano Ronaldo joined the rest of the Red Devils in the 85th minute, replacing Marcus Rashford, looking very unfriendly and barely touching the ball. Looks like it’s all-out war.
Right down to his F-bomb post-match interview, Monday night at Old Trafford was the occasion when Erik ten Hag’s bold choices acted as jump leads to his reign as Manchester United manager.
Sky Sports host Dave Jones may have needed to apologise to viewers for Ten Hag insisting his team can “fucking play good football”, proposing a possible translation issue, but the smart money is on the Dutchman meaning exactly what he said. Swearing on live television represents a forceful expression of his underlying faith in his players, in a week when he has criticised their application, and you can be confident the clip will make its way around the squad.
More significantly, the courage of Ten Hag’s selections paid off. To varying degrees of shock, he sent Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw to the bench, and started Anthony Elanga, Raphael Varane and Tyrell Malacia.
Dropping United’s captain is a major call, but Ronaldo brings global scrutiny and, more importantly, is the pivotal figure in Ten Hag’s battle to implement his style.
Ronaldo got the final four minutes but by then, Ten Hag had made his point: United can win without the 37-year-old. To feature more, whatever his supreme scoring prowess, Ronaldo must adapt. “I think he can,” said Ten Hag. “The whole of his career under several managers he did several styles and systems. He always performed, so why can’t he do this? His age is not an issue.”
On a general theme, Ten Hag said: “Sometimes you think strikers cannot do it (press) because they have to save the energy for offensive actions. Now it is football, both are a demand.”
Ten Hag’s defensive changes after that 4-0 calamity against Brentford also worked.
Varane replaced Maguire and enjoyed one of his best games for United. Lisandro Martinez, the subject of much debate since joining, was United’s best player, flinging himself in front of a Mohamed Salah shot, stopping a Bruno Fernandes own goal on the line, and generally playing with a feverish intent that generates a connection with fans.
He riled James Milner by digging his fingers into his head, a moment that demonstrated what Ten Hag described as South American “grinta”. “An absolute will to win, controlled emotion,” said Ten Hag, who is also convinced that Martinez’s 5ft 9in (175cm) height is not an issue in the Premier League.
Malacia is three inches shorter but has a touch of “grinta” too. He provoked another wave of noise from the stands in the second period by tackling Alexander-Arnold twice in quick succession by the corner flag, thundering into his second challenge.
For all Ten Hag’s doubling down on his demands out of possession, he was pragmatic in one crucial aspect. David de Gea did not once take a short goal kick. The welcome mat rolled out to Brentford was stored away for Liverpool. Instead, De Gea bypassed Liverpool’s high press.