Ten Hag told to ‘keep his mouth shut’ after shock Man Utd decision in Villa defeat

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag looks angry as he watches his side Credit: Alamy
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag looks angry as he watches his side Credit: Alamy

Former Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood doesn’t understand why Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag felt the need to explain his decision to captain Cristiano Ronaldo against Aston Villa.

The Red Devils lost 3-1 to Villa on Sunday afternoon with goals from Leon Bailey, Lucas Digne and Jacob Ramsey cancelling out Ramsey’s own-goal.

Ronaldo was announced as captain for the day against Aston Villa on Sunday despite recently refusing to come off the bench against Tottenham in a 2-0 victory.

The Portugal international made it clear that he wanted to leave the club in the summer and his lack of Premier League minutes boiled over versus Spurs.

Ronaldo was fined and made to train by himself before he apologised to Erik ten Hag and returned to first-team training the following week.

Explaining his decision to make Ronaldo captain, Ten Hag told reporters: “We have more leaders, Harry is on the bench, Bruno is suspended, you take the player who has the leadership.

“The goalie is often far away from the situations, especially in the opponent’s half and we want to play in the opponents half. Casemiro is not speaking full English language yet, then you come to Cristiano, he is doing really (well) the last two games, I hope he keeps that process going.

“When you are captain and leader you have to set an example and that is what I expect from him — he is an important part of the squad, we are happy with him and now he has to taken even more of the leader role.”

But Sherwood insists that there was no need for Ten Hag to offer an explanation and told the Man Utd boss to stay silent next time.

“What basically he’s saying, he was fifth choice isn’t he,” Sherwood said on talkSPORT. “Why he has to justify why he’s given Cristiano Ronaldo the armband, I just don’t know. Just keep your mouth shut.”

Fellow talkSPORT pundit Ally McCoist claims the decision to make Ronaldo captain was no surprise to him and the former Rangers striker says their performance against Aston Villa was not down to the 37-year-old being skipper.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all and he’s given a perfect explanation for it,” McCoist said. “The one thing Ronaldo is, he’s a leader. He’s let himself down probably the last couple of weeks, with the substitute performance, walking away and all that kind of stuff.

“However, over his career he’s been an absolute example. I don’t have a problem with it at all and as Ten Hag was saying there, he clearly wasn’t the first choice. But sometimes you have to make decisions you know somewhere down the line somebody will ask you about it.

“And that was certainly the case after the game. Listen, Manchester United were poor at the weekend – it wasn’t because Ronaldo was captain.”

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