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Rio Ferdinand has outlined how Sir Alex Ferguson used to break the news to Manchester United players who would not be picked for the next match.
The legendary defender was reacting to the recent drama that has seemingly pitted current Red Devils’ boss Erik ten Hag up against superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Ten Hag laid down the law on the ex-Real Madrid hero, by leaving him out of the squad that faced Chelsea in the previous Premier League gameweek.
The Dutchman’s decision was in response to Ronaldo refusing to come on as a substitute against Tottenham, before leaving the pitch and Old Trafford while the game was still ongoing. And while Ferdinand did not condone Ronaldo’s recent behaviour, the former England captain explained how Ferguson would have prevented such a scenario.
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"Before every game, Sir Alex Ferguson came to the table and explained to you what was going on,” Ferdinand said on the ‘Vibe with Five’ podcast. “Also, he would go to you, before that, and he would go, ‘listen, you’re not going to play the next two, but there is a third game up the road, that is perfect and made for you’.
“You do not get those emotional reactions the next week. He preempted it and he’d do it with Cristiano, he’s done it beginning of the season, where he’s talking to him about this and that ‘that window of games, that is where you are, and I will need you for that midweek one there,’ or whatever.
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“He was just looking at the bigger picture down the line, so there was no surprises.” This incident has ramped up speculation suggesting the 37-year-old could look for the exit door at Old Trafford.
He has only started two Premier League matches under Ten Hag this season, having seemingly been produced to the role of impact substitute. Ferdinand did admit that he feels Ten Hag’s disciplined approach would have resonated with many United fans, he still feels the former Ajax manager could have done more to prevent the fracas that has occured.
“Erik ten Hag’s reactions and the way he disciplines the players in the squad, including Cristiano Ronaldo, I think it is the way you would want to see it as a fan,” Ferdinand added. “My pushback is that I don’t think he should have allowed it to get to that point.
“If you have the conversation and talk to someone like Cristiano Ronaldo, who by the way, all his career, has mapped out season after season, games, this is an area where he would probably get rested, looking at the bigger picture. At 37-years-old, he probably needs that more now, than ever in his career, because physically, to get himself right for games, he needs information to go and prepare.”
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- Manchester United FC
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Erik ten Hag
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