Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag made it abundantly clear he would be fielding no more questions regarding Cristiano Ronaldo during his press conference on Wednesday. Ronaldo once again dominated the questioning among reporters before the Dutchman took a strong stance.
The 37-year-old striker was absent from Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea after Ten Hag suspended him for refusing to come on and leaving the stadium early in United’s win against Tottenham Hotspur days earlier. But he returned to first-team training this week and is in contention for Europa League action on Thursday.
Ten Hag started the media briefing by confirming Ronaldo would be in the matchday squad for Sheriff Tiraspol’s visit to Old Trafford. But when pressed for further comments, he responded: “I think we said everything and answered all of the questions. He was out for one game, and now he’s back as usual.
“You don’t have to [ask about Ronaldo again] because I won’t answer any more [questions],” Ten Hag interrupted. “We covered everything last week. We explained everything. So we have to focus on tomorrow. We have an important game because we want to be top of the group so let’s focus on that.”
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Ronaldo’s return isn’t the only boost United have received ahead of the crunch Group E clash against the Moldovans. Ten Hag confirmed Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Donny van de Beek were all back in training after lengthy injury lay-offs.
“They are in training. Harry, Donny, and Aaron are all training in preparation for tomorrow,” Ten Hag explained. “After training, I will make a decision [on their involvement]. [Maguire] has a role to play. He is on his way back and now has to get back into these games. I understand the [England] interest, but we look at United. We have to get the right results.”
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United must beat Sheriff to keep finishing top of the group in their own hands amid Real Sociedad’s flawless Europa League campaign. La Real have won all four of their games, including 1-0 at Old Trafford, meaning the Red Devils trail by three points ahead of the final two fixtures.
If La Real defeat Omonoia Nicosia and United dispatch Sheriff, Ten Hag’s side must triumph by more than one goal in Spain to finish Group E winners due to the head-to-head rule. If United are condemned to second, a play-off round against one of the Champions League’s third-placed teams awaits in the new year.
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