Erik ten Hag agreed with Cristiano Ronaldo that the standards at Manchester United had fallen sharply since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson a decade ago.

Ronaldo left United in November before completing a stunning move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr. That move came after Ronaldo ended his relationship with United by mutual consent in November following a bombshell interview with Piers Morgan.

Ronaldo never enjoyed a run of starts under United boss Ten Hag, who swiftly established that he should not be in his strongest starting line-up. The Portuguese star’s exit interview was critical of the boss, whom he accused of “disrespecting” him.

The two clearly did not share a strong relationship with Ronaldo's exit coinciding with an upturn in form for United, while the striker failed to land the league title in the Middle East as Al-Nassr fell short to Al-Ittihad.

Ronaldo's exit from the club saw him burning bridges with multiple individuals both at and formerly of United, but his relationship with his former boss Ferguson always remained strong. The interview that preceded his exit gave a nod to that, while also attacking the standards at United.

Ronaldo said: “He knows that (the club’s problems), he knows better than anybody that the club is not on the path they deserve to be. He knows. Everyone knows. The people who don't see that is because they don't want to see; they are blamed.

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“The fans, they are always the answer, and the passion for the game. Manchester belongs to the fans, but they should know the truth. The infrastructure, they are not good. They should change.”

United boss Ten Hag has now given an interview to the Times in which he admitted he inherited a club in which the culture had changed since they had been a relentless winning machine. They had not won a trophy in six years prior to this season and have not won the league for a decade.

“We were aware of it,” Ten Hag admitted, when referencing the club’s struggles prior to his arrival. “I informed myself. After Sir Alex left, the culture changed over the years.

“One of the biggest qualities Sir Alex had was to have high standards. I wanted to bring it back in, so that everyone in this organisation lives the highest standards and the football players too.”

2023-05-30T10:39:22Z dg43tfdfdgfd