Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said he will wait until Thursday to “deal with” Cristiano Ronaldo leaving early during the team’s 2-0 win against Tottenham.
Ronaldo, who has had limited game time under ten Hag and tried to force a move away from United before the start of the season, was an unused substitute in Wednesday’s match.
Rather than staying until the final whistle, the Portuguese forward walked down the tunnel with several minutes left to play at Old Trafford – shortly after ten Hag had brought on Christian Eriksen and Anthony Elanga.
“I don’t pay attention (to that) today, we deal with that tomorrow,” the Dutch manager told reporters when asked about Ronaldo’s early exit. “I want to get the focus on this team. It was a magnificent performance.”
Ronaldo appeared unhappy when he was substituted 72 minutes into United’s 0-0 draw against Newcastle on Sunday, a decision ten Hag said he took to keep his strikers fresh ahead of a busy run of fixtures.
In his eight appearances so far this season – six of which have come from the subs bench – Ronaldo has scored just once.
Speaking on the BBC, former England striker Gary Lineker said it was “unacceptable” and “so poor” for the 37-year-old to leave the match early.
Against Tottenham, Fred’s deflected shot gave United the lead at the start of the second half before Bruno Fernandes increased the home side’s advantage from the edge of the area.
It was largely thanks to the excellence of Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris that United only scored twice, which moved up to fifth in the Premier League table with the victory.
In a hit-and-miss season, ten Hag’s side has now recorded wins against Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal, as well as humiliating defeats against Brentford and Manchester City.
Next up is a trip to Chelsea on Saturday, while Tottenham plays Newcastle at home.