Erik Ten Hag breaks silence on Cristiano Ronaldo exclusion vs Brighton

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has broken his silence on why he has decided not to include Cristiano Ronaldo in his starting lineup for Sunday’s Premier League opener against Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Dutch tactician, who took over on a permanent basis from former interim boss Ralf Rangnick earlier this summer, is set to make his competitive debut, and will do so on the Old Trafford touchline later on Sunday.

Scheduled to kick off against Graham Potter’s Seagulls at 2 p.m (UK time), ten Hag will be desperate to start his new era with a win.

Read more: Man United vs Brighton confirmed lineups: No Ronaldo but two new signings start

Having named his first competitive starting 11, fans, prior to the club’s official announcement, were left to wonder if star attacker Ronaldo would feature.

After missing out on the club’s pre-season tour of Australia, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was always likely to miss out on starting on Sunday, and that has now been confirmed.

Opting to go with a front two of Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, ten Hag, when asked about Ronaldo’s omission, as quoted by the BBC’s Shamoon Hafez, said: “Ronaldo is working really hard to get in the right fitness levels, it will take time.

“He started pre-season last week. It depends on how quick he is progressing.”

However, named among the substitutes, Ronaldo could be thrust into action later on in the afternoon, depending on how the game plays out, and it will be incredibly interesting to see the kind of reception the Portuguese forward receives from the home fans.

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