Five things learned when Ten Hag’s men show they don’t need Ronaldo

Bruno returns to the song

Named man of the match, this was a captain’s performance from the Portuguese star that flourished in Ronaldo’s absence. He chased every ball, hit shots from distance and tried to create them for his teammates.

It is well documented that Fernandes has struggled to get fit for the last 12 months. But perhaps that’s just because he has set impossibly high standards in his first few months at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo’s arrival took the shine off his status last season, but with the veteran star on the bench, he was allowed the freedom to take charge of this game and produced the goods with a punch. Ten Hag will be delighted with his contribution after deservedly keeping Christian Eriksen out of the squad.

Ronaldo exceeded the requirements

He must have killed a player who has scored 700 league goals to see his side struggle to find a way past goalkeeper Lloris in the first half. But what might have hurt Cristiano Ronaldo more was the fact that United didn’t seem to need him to save their skin.

The 37-year-old sat on the bench once again after being benched by Ten Hag. For all the talk of how important he is at Old Trafford, actions speak louder than words, and Ronaldo’s body language said it all as he sulkily glared at the game from the sidelines.

The striker made no secret of his desire to leave in the summer and his failure to secure an away exit looks even worse for him now. It’s not that he’s too good for United, but you have to ask if he’s good enough to guarantee a place in this team.

Either way, going down the tunnel before his team completes a morale-boosting victory said it all about his thoughts right now. And that will prove to be a slight deterrent for Ten Hag, who now has a problem to deal with in preventing Ronaldo’s childish act from affecting the happiness of his squad.

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