Man Utd legend Paul Scholes thinks Erik ten Hag showed “more disrespect” to Cristiano Ronaldo on Thursday than if he’d brought him off the bench against Man City.
The Portugal international has only started one Premier League match this campaign with Ten Hag refusing to bring him off the bench in the Red Devils’ 6-3 loss to arch-rivals Man City on Sunday “out of respect”.
“I didn’t bring him on out of respect for his big career,” the Dutchman said at a post-match press conference. “And the other thing, there was then the advantage I could bring Antony Martial on. He needs the minutes but I don’t want to point it out like that.”
Liverpool legend Graeme Souness was among those who thought Ten Hag showed more “disrespect” by leaving him on the bench after Man Utd found themselves 4-0 down at half-time.
Ronaldo was given a start on Thursday night as Man Utd came from a goal down to beat Cypriot side Omonia 3-2 in the Europa League group stage.
The Portugal superstar contributed an assist in a good display but Scholes reckons it could be seen as “more disrespectful” that Ten Hag started him on Thursday night than bringing him on at the Etihad on Sunday.
Scholes told BT Sport: “I think it is almost more disrespectful playing him on a Thursday night in the Europa League. This man is a world superstar.
“I am not saying at 37 years of age he should be starting the games, the big games especially, but this is a competition that is hard to get yourself motivated for.
“I don’t like saying that, but it’s true when you are a big player at a big club like this.
“He has to change his mentality now, and because he is so strong mentally, it will be to score two goals and get himself in the team for the weekend.”
Omonia forward Karim Ansarifard ensured Man Utd went into the break 1-0 down before subsitute Marcus Rashford rescued the Red Devils with a brace while Anthony Martial scored the other.
“I think we started well, a couple of chances, and then unnecessarily down,” United boss Ten Hag told BT Sport.
“The mistake cannot happen, we have to take responsibility there. But then a really bad 10 minutes and we have to learn from that.”
Asked what he changed at half-time, Ten Hag added: “A couple of things, especially more runs.
“We were too static and we have to make the opposite movement to get behind. That’s why also we make two subs in that time and they had really an impact.
“I think Luke and Marcus definitely (helped with that) but also Anthony Martial, of course, with 2-1.
“I think the subs really had an impact today and that is really good. That makes the team stronger.”