By G9ija

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has affirmed that he will “deal with” an incident that saw Cristiano Ronaldo walk down the tunnel before the end of the Red Devils 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

After being handed a start against Newcastle United at the weekend – only his second in the Premier League this season – Ronaldo was dropped back down to the bench on Wednesday night.

Marcus Rashford linked up with Antony and Jadon Sancho in his place, and Ten Hag’s side put on one of their finest performances of the season to comfortably beat Spurs.

Rashford himself endured a frustrating evening, but Fred and Bruno Fernandes both struck in the second half to steer Man United to a well-deserved three points at Old Trafford.

However, the win was somewhat soured by images of Ronaldo walking down the tunnel before the end of the match after it became clear that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner would not be brought onto the pitch.

When asked by Amazon Prime if he had any interaction with Ronaldo in the tunnel, Ten Hag responded: “He was there, I have seen him, but I didn’t speak with him.”

Elaborating on the issue further during his post-game press conference, the Dutchman affirmed that he would handle the situation on Thursday and wanted to focus on the “magnificent” showing from the players who were on the pitch.

“I don’t pay attention to that, I will deal with that tomorrow. I want to keep the focus on the team,” Ten Hag said. “It was magnificent from all 11 players. I have to correct myself. It was also a performance from the substitutes who came on.

“Once again, it was a squad performance. I think what we have seen is 11 players who defend and 11 who attack. I was pleased.”

Ronaldo has endured a turbulent campaign since it was reported that he wanted to leave in the summer, and he has only been a peripheral figure during Ten Hag’s reign so far.

The 37-year-old has only scored two goals and set up one more in 12 outings in all competitions this season, starting all four games in the Europa League, but just two in the top flight.

Wednesday’s game also marked just the second match of the season in which Ronaldo did not earn any minutes whatsoever, the first being the Red Devils’ 6-3 loss to Manchester City on October 2.

On that occasion, Ten Hag claimed that he left Ronaldo on the bench out of “respect” for his career, and the attacker is seemingly inching ever closer to an exit from the club in 2023.

Man United do possess an option to extend the Portugal international’s stay until the end of the 2023-24 season, but it is difficult to envisage the Red Devils activating that clause given Ronaldo’s struggles this term.

Ten Hag’s side remain fifth in the Premier League table after beating Tottenham but are now just one point adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, whom they meet at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.