Man Utd verdict: Ronaldo said he was ready to face Brighton – and the club still aren’t ready for life without him

CRISTIANO RONALDO declared himself “ready” in a clear message to his new boss on the eve of the season opener.

But the question is – are Manchester United ready for life without their Portuguese superstar wanton?

Manchester United are not ready for life without Cristiano Ronaldo

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Manchester United are not ready for life without Cristiano RonaldoPhoto credit: Reuters
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag lost his first Premier League game

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag lost his first Premier League gamePhoto credit: AFP

And the overriding sentiment during the 52 minutes he spent on the bench while his teammates struggled was no.

Erik Ten Hag’s decision not to include Ronaldo in the starting XI was the only one he could realistically make.

After all, the 37-year-old has made it clear he wants to leave, missing most of pre-season due to a family issue in Lisbon.

But he set the crowd apart by stepping out to warm up just before half-time – although admittedly his side were just two goals behind at the time.

And his substitution from the bench early in the second half gave the out-of-form Red Devils fresh impetus.

He wasn’t at his best – and after less than two weeks of training, that might not come as a surprise.

But there was enough to show why United have so adamantly refused to listen to offers for him this summer.

If they don’t find someone to take on the goalscoring role in the final three weeks of the transfer window, that’s unlikely to change.

Ten Hag’s decision to use Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes as interchangeable wrong nines didn’t work – despite a brilliant opening.

The two walked away at half-time with their shoulders slumped – as if unsure of what was expected of them.

The Denmark midfielder had some nice touches but wasted the one clear opening he had – tamely slamming into the hands of Robert Sanchez.

It was a first half as bad as a lot of what we saw here last season.

The two midfielders filled the spot that Ronaldo had occupied for most of last season, but it was Fred who made way for him just after the break.

It wasn’t long before he put one on the plate for Marcus Rashford, who somehow failed to hit Sanchez from close range.

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag needed Cristiano Ronaldo from last season

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag needed Cristiano Ronaldo from last seasonPhoto credit: Reuters

The flag for offside went against the Portuguese but replays showed that if Rashford had scored it would likely have stood.

He also saw a shot on target blocked as United pushed for an equalizer in the final minutes.

Ronaldo needs time to get going but United seemed more likely to accomplish things with him on the pitch than without him.

At the other end, another newcomer – former Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez had looked confident early on – but it didn’t last.

The Argentine faced a tough challenge from former United man Danny Welbeck and was lucky not to give away a penalty in the second half for passing him.

All in all, a worrying start to the Ten Hag Revolution.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5948891/manchester-united-cristiano-ronaldo-brighton-erik-ten-hag/ Man Utd verdict: Ronaldo said he was ready to face Brighton – and the club still aren’t ready for life without him

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