Erik ten Hag sets out plans for Man Utd
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Cristiano Ronaldo was left embarrassed last weekend as Manchester United limped to a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League – just months after the Portuguese superstar had dismissed the idea of the club finishing “sixth or seventh”. It’s been a rotten campaign for United, who had harboured title ambitions at the start of the season.
A 1-0 defeat against Crystal Palace on Sunday confirmed that United would finish the season in sixth spot – something that Ronaldo himself had insisted wasn’t good enough back in January when discussing United’s difficult start to the season.
He said: “I don’t accept that our mentality be less than being in the top three in the Premier League. I think to build up good things, sometimes you have to destroy a few things. So why not – new year, new life and I hope that Manchester (United) can be the level that the fans want. They deserve that.
“We are capable of changing things now. I know the way but I’m not going to mention it here because I don’t think it’s ethical on my part to say that. What I can say is we can do better – all of us. Manchester (United) belongs to important things, so we have to change that.
“I don’t want to be here to be in sixth place, or seventh place, or fifth place. I’m here to try to win, to compete. I think we compete but we are not yet in our best level. But we have a long way to improve and I believe if we change our mind, we can achieve big things.”
Hopes were high for Manchester United at the start of the season; even more so after Ronaldo’s romantic return to Old Trafford was confirmed at the tail-end of August. But despite Ronaldo’s best efforts, United have endured their worst-ever campaign in the Premier League era and are in need of a major overhaul from incoming boss Erik ten Hag.
While others around him have struggled, Ronaldo has bucked the trend and done himself justice by plundering 24 goals in 39 games since returning to Manchester.
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However, despite the 37-year-old’s impressive goal haul, there have been question marks over whether or not Ten Hag would stick with United’s talisman next season or choose to go in a different direction.
But the former Ajax chief appeared to quash talk of ditching the ex-Real Madrid superstar during his first official press conference on Monday – although he refused to give too much else away when quizzed on the veteran striker.
“Of course,” Ten Hag said when asked if Ronaldo could play a part for United next season. When asked what the United icon could bring, Ten Hag simply added: “Goals.” When it was suggested that Ronaldo could perhaps provide more of leadership role, the Dutchman concluded: “I talk first with Ronaldo before I talk with you.”
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