Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag pointed finger at Cristiano Ronaldo as the cause of his Manchester United contract termination.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo exited Old Trafford by mutual consent after slamming United coach Erik ten Hag and the club’s hierarchy in his backlash interview with Piers Morgan.
Erik ten Hag has now pinned the blame for Ronaldo’s abrupt exit solely on the Portuguese as the Red Devils returned to Premier League action without their all-time legendary goal scorer, Ronaldo.
Manchester United terminated Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract by mutual agreement in November after the Portuguese threw heavy punches at the club via his unruly interview with Piers Morgan.
The Red Devils have been keen to move on from the depressing incident as they target Champions League qualification in the second half of the Premier League campaign.
And ahead of their Premier League 3-0 victory against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford on Tuesday, December 27, United boss insisted it was Ronaldo’s choice to depart from Old Trafford which is evident from the Portuguese’s insubordinate act towards the club.
When asked by Viaplay about whether he is satisfied to have resolved the “tension” with Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit, Erik Ten Hag replied: “The focus is on the resumption of the league. I only see a hungry team.”
“I don’t look back, I only look forward. He chose to say goodbye, he (Ronaldo) is no longer part of it.”
Meanwhile, Manchester United manager, Erik ten Hag has backed Marcus Rashford to fill the gap left by Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure.
Marcus Rashford opened the scoresheet for United at Old Trafford following a well-worked set piece before England forward turned provider, setting up a brilliant assist for Anthony Martial to double the lead within the first half.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure has left the Dutch manager Ten Hag with only Rashford and Anthony Martial as senior strikers in the club.
And even with the presence of Ronaldo at United during the first part of the Premier League campaign, the Red Devils have always struggled for goals.
Manchester United is the lowest scorer in the Premier League’s top eight with 20 goals.
However, Ten Hag believes Marcus Rashford can fill the void left by Ronaldo following his impressive feat in the Qatar World Cup where he scored three goals for England.
On Rashford Ten Hag said: “I think he is capable of scoring 20 goals in the Premier League.”
“He got three in the World Cup so we know the potential to score those numbers in the Premier League.
“When you analyze the first 14 matches or however many we are not a problem in the front line.”
Relying on two strikers may not give a consistent desired result, hence, Manchester United will focus their efforts on signing a new striker next summer.
The Red Devils have already compiled a three-player shortlist against summer transfer window that includes Benfica’s Goncalo Ramos, AC Milan’s Rafael Leao, and Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic.
However, in the meantime, Manchester United will seek loan moves for players who can fortify Ten Hag’s attacking scheme for the next few months, as they have predicted a permanent replacement will be difficult in January.