The new manager of Manchester United, Erik ten Hag suffered his first defeat as the manager of the Premier League club at the hands of Atletico Madrid on Saturday, July 30, 2022, without Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Dutch tactician led a handful of Manchester United players to Oslo, Australia to play against the Spanish team in a pre-season friendly which did not end on a good note for the English team.
During the game, Erik ten Hag’s team recorded 13 shots, four of which were on target but an attack led by Anthony Martial and supported by Marcus Rashford, Anthony Elanga, and Bruno Fernandes could not convert any of their chances.
Despite how explosive the friendly match which took place at Ullevaal Stadion was, Atletico Madrid who enjoyed 44 percent of the ball possession had to wait until the 86th minute before they got the only goal of the match courtesy of João Félix.
While Erik ten Hag and his boys were trying to get something from the game, the club’s midfielder Fred was given his second booking and then a red card in the additional one minute after a reckless challenge on Atletico Madrid forward Alvaro Morata.
Even though the club’s new signing, Lisandro Martinez traveled with the team to Oslo, he could not get minutes from the game which means he would have to wait until later today, July 31, to make his Manchester United debut.
While Christian Eriksen, one of Erik ten Hag’s summer recruits joined the game in the 69th minute and continued to show that he is a good addition to the team.
The game against Atletico Madrid is Erik ten Hag’s 5th major preseason game so far this summer. Recall that Ten Hag and his team beat Premier League rivals Liverpool and Crystal Palace earlier in the summer. The team also enjoyed victory over Australian team Melbourne Victory and then drew against Aston Villa.
We appreciate you coming out, Oslo — we felt your support from the first whistle to the last 👏❤️#MUFC pic.twitter.com/CbDIHWpV5H— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 30, 2022
They will return to Old Trafford to face Rayo Vallecano at 16:00 later today, July 31, a match which will be executed by mostly the players that didn’t travel with Ten Hag to Oslo.
“The players who played today from the start, will not come on tomorrow. So tomorrow we will have a different starting XI. But some players came on who can start tomorrow (Sunday)”, Erik ten Hag said after the game in Oslo.
💬 The boss shared his reaction to today's friendly match with #MUTV…#MUFC— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 30, 2022
Erik ten Hag confirms that Cristiano Ronaldo is back
After a series of back and forth concerning the future of Cristiano Ronaldo, the 37-year-old Portuguese star has started training with Manchester United ahead of their friendly game against Rayo Vallecano.
Recall that Ronaldo told Manchester United that he wanted to leave the club despite having a year left on his contract with the Premier League club. He had to request an exit because he does not want to play Europa League football which Manchester United are qualified for in the coming season.
Since then, Ronaldo’s manager has been searching for a new team that can offer the five-time Ballon d’Or winner Champions League football but the search has proven to be difficult and United have insisted that Ronaldo is not for sale.
Due to the back and forth, Ronaldo did not participate in the Manchester United pre-season tour in the name of having a family issue he needed to attend to. However, he managed to return to Old Trafford on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.
When he arrived at Old Trafford, he had meetings with coach Erik ten Hag, the club’s former coach Sir Alex Ferguson and a host of others over his future at the club but reports then were that Ronaldo has insisted that he wanted to leave.
However, on Friday, July 29, he took to social media to announce that “the king” will play on Sunday which means he could be in action against Rayo Vallecano. As a follow-up to that, he posted a picture of himself after training with some of his teammates on Saturday.
After the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid on Saturday, coach Erik ten Hag told reporters that Ronaldo will be in his squad for the game against Rayo later today. “Tomorrow (Sunday, July 31) he will be in the squad. We’ll see how long he can play”, the coach confirmed.
Erik ten Hag’s first Old Trafford experience as United coach
Since coach Erik ten Hag became the manager of Manchester United at the end of last season, he has not led the team to play a game at Old Trafford. Hence, the friendly game against Rayo Vallecano at 16:00 on Sunday will be his first game at Old Trafford as the manager of Manchester United.
Ahead of the game, the former Ajax coach described the opportunity of having to record his first Theatre of Dreams experience as something special and great.
“I think [it will be special]. I can tell you the feeling, but it would be great. I heard it was sold out, so it is fantastic”, the coach said.
“We have to prepare for this game now. We have to travel back soon to get well prepared for the start tomorrow against Rayo Vallecano.”