Erik ten Hag stated he paid price for Ronaldo’s departure in Man Utd’s loss to Liverpool

Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United and a former teammate claims his experience was sorely missed in thrashing by Liverpool


Manchester United would not have shipped seven goals at arch-rivals Liverpool had Cristiano Ronaldo still been playing for them, according to Louis Saha.


The former United striker claimed Ronaldo – who left Old Trafford in November after criticising Erik ten Hag in an explosive television interview – would not have allowed the team to capitulate so meekly. Ronaldo had his contract terminated by mutual consent and joined Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr after laying into Ten Hag and United in the interview, which left him with no way back.


Despite United having lost just once in 22 games following Roaldo’s departure, until the Liverpool debacle, Saha claimed Sunday’s Anfield mauling may not have been so sɑvɑge had the 38-year-old striker still been leading the ɑttɑck.


“Ronaldo’s departure marked a fresh start for United,” said Saha. “It gave Ten Hag a blank page to draw upon, which has allowed him to establish a winning mentality at the club. Now that the club’s mindset has improved, I think they’d be doing even better if they had Cristiano up top.


“Of course, it’s hard to know for sure, but when I see United losing 7-0 to Liverpool, I can only think that Cristiano could have helped.”


Saha, who played alongside Ronaldo at United for four years, acknowledged the team has improved since his exit, but claimed the former Real Madrid star deserved credit for helping set his old club back on the right path.



Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United after falling out with Erik ten Hag and slamming him in an interview


“With all respect to Cristiano’s legacy and his record at United – which more or less speaks for itself – you cannot ignore the drɑmɑtic change in United’s form since Ronaldo left,” Saha told Compare.bet. “But, at the same time, it was a very difficult situation for Erik ten Hag to deal with upon arrival at United and it just didn’t go well.


“But I don’t think this is because of Cristiano, but because of the other players’ mindsets. With the right communication, the right level of respect, maybe a compromise could have been found.


“But he’s still contributed to United’s resurrection by the effect he had on players around him. He boosted confidence and gave players the freedom to express themselves, which has been a big factor in United’s improvement this season.”



Erik ten Hag missed Cristiano Ronaldo during Manchester United’s defeat at Liverpool, Louis Saha suspects


United will be looking for an immediate response to the Liverpool shambles when they host Real Betis in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie. Betis, who are fifth in La Liga, held leaders Real Madrid to a goalless draw at the weekend and are likely to prove tough opponents for United to break down.


United have ιnjᴜry concerns over former Los Blancos duo Casemiro and Raphael Varane, both of whom are understood to have suffered knocks in the Liverpool hammering.


Victor Lindelof, ruled out of the Liverpool game with a minor ιnjᴜry, could feature, but Anthony Martial is not expected to return. Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek will also be missing, with the former out until at least April and the latter for the season,


Bruno Fernandes’ “embarrassing” Liverpool antics leads to Cristiano Ronaldo theory


Bruno Fernandes’ behaviour during Sunday’s 7-0 defeat to Liverpool has been condemned


Ian Wright believes that some of Bruno Fernandes’ bad habits have started to creep back into his game since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.


Fernandes has borne the brunt of the criticism after Manchester United were thrashed 7-0 by their bitter rivals Liverpool in Sunday. The 28-year-old vice-captain has been slammed for his nеɡɑtiᴠе body language and his petulant behaviour was branded “embarrassing” by Old Trafford favourite Gary Neville.


The Portuguese playmaker’s attitude has been questioned in the past, with talkSPORT pundit Gabby Agbonlahor claiming the midfielder looked like “the worst teammate” after he spent the majority of Manchester United’s heavy 4-0 defeat against Brentford earlier in the campaign complaining.


To his credit, Fernandes form and influence has grown significantly since then and he has shown glimpses of the form that made him an instant Һιt with the Old Trafford faithful. In recent months, Fernandes has worn the captain’s armband with Harry Maguire out of favour.


But Wright, who was less than enthused with Fernandes’ Anfield antics, has criticised the former Sporting Lisbon ace. And he believes that Fernandes’ on-field behaviour was far better when Ronaldo was at the club. Speaking to Premier League Productions, Wright said: “I think his [Fernandes’] histrionics have kicked on a bit more since Ronaldo is not in the dressing room. Maybe he would look across and see Ronaldo and not act as openly as that.


“He seemed to quieten himself down when Ronaldo wasn’t there and now Ronaldo’s gone he feels he’s the boss of that dressing room. I look at that dressing room and try to think what player would walk up to him to eyeball him to put him in his place.



Ian Wright believes Fernandes curbed some of his bad habits when Cristiano Ronaldo was at the club


“It looks to me like that captain needs that. There’s a lot of problems to me when you look at that performance from him. I don’t know who is going to bring that guy in line.”


And Wright went one further by claiming that Fernandes’ behaviour may not align with Erik ten Hag’s long-term vision. He added: “When you look at the capitulation of the team it’s a reflection of the captain. When I saw Bajcetic go past him and he stopped that was the last straw because when you look at his histrionics he’s someone who wouldn’t last [in the dressing rooms he played in].


“The captain is a special person in there. When you watch someone like Roy Keane, a performance like that must hurt him deeply with what he’s had to go through to get to that accolade, to see a Man Utd captain do that playing as if he’s got the world on his shoulders and not inspiring his teammates to try and salvage something.


“To see the captain like that, he cannot be… the way Ten Hag has setting that team up he doesn’t fit in the mould of Ten Hag and how he wants his team to go forward.”

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