Ten Hag discusses why he assigned Ronaldo captain for Manchester United’s trip to Aston Villa.

  • Erik ten Hag explains handing Cristiano Ronaldo captaincy for Manchester United’s trip to Aston Villa.

Ten Hag discusses why he assigned Ronaldo captain for Manchester United's trip to Aston Villa.
Ten Hag discusses he assigned Ronaldo captain for Manchester United’s trip to Aston Villa.

Cristiano Ronaldo starts for Manchester United against Aston Villa on Sunday, wearing the captain’s armband, with manager Erik ten Hag urging the senior to “take even more of the leader role” in the team.

Before this weekend, Ronaldo had only started three Premier League games this season, mostly coming off the bench and starting in the Europa League.

However, with and Jadon Sancho unfit, the 37-year-old starts at Villa Park and with Bruno Fernandes also out, he takes the captaincy.


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Ten Hag downplayed the significance of Ronaldo receiving the armband but insisted on seeing captain’s performance from the attacker.

‘Nothing changed, when you are captain and leader you have to set an example and that is what I expect from him on the pitch,’ said the Dutchman.

‘He is an important part of our squad, we said that from the start of the season and we keep saying that. We are happy with him and now he has to take even more of the leader role because Harry [Maguire] is on the pitch and Bruno is suspended.’

In the build- Sunday’s trip to Aston Villa, Ten Hag singled out Ronaldo for praise, but surprisingly it was to compliment his defensive skills.

‘We defend with 11, starting with Cristiano up front,’ said Ten Hag.So we are hard to beat as team. That’s compliment but it’s also that process we have to keep going.

‘That makes it hard to beat us because everyone is convinced of that plan, everyone is disciplined in that plan.

‘When we play with the desire and passion, we are hard to beat and that makes us, in this moment, successful.’

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