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Erik ten Hag has declared he “expects” Cristiano Ronaldo to be “at the right fitness levels” and ready to fight for Manchester United’s cause as the Red Devils boss considers whether or not to start the wantaway superstar against Brentford on Saturday. The Dutchman reiterated that the 37-year-old remains part of United’s plans this season despite his wish to depart in order to play Champions League football this campaign.
Ten Hag called upon Ronaldo shortly after the half-time interval in United’s 2-1 home defeat to Brighton last weekend and it’s thought the five-time Ballon d’Or winner could well be deployed from the off against the Bees at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday, despite continued uncertainty surrounding the striker’s future. Ronaldo is understood to have made clear his desire to depart Old Trafford this summer, however Ten Hag insists “that’s not what he is telling me”.
The United boss then went on to reiterate that Ronaldo remains a part of his plans this season while calling for the famed forward to “do the job expected of him” despite incessant speculation linking the Portuguese talisman with a move away. Ten Hag declared: “In every press conference, we already confirmed that he is in our plans. We plan with him so we also plan around him.
“So I deal with the players we have and we plan with him for this season. We’re happy with him and we have to fit him into the team so he has to come at the right fitness levels so that he can do the job that we expect him to do.”
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Meanwhile, Ten Hag additionally issued Paris Saint-Germain with a hands-off warning regarding Marcus Rashford. The French giants have been heavily linked with making a move for the United striker in recent days. The United boss said: “He’s really important.
“You have seen from the first day I’m here that I’m really happy with him. I don’t want to lose him, he’s definitely in our plans at Manchester United. I have not spoken to him yet, but he knows I love him. He knows I want him to be here so I will tell him that again.”
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While Rashford is thought to be happy to remain at United, Ten Hag is confident the club’s academy graduate will not have his head turned, despite PSG’s attempts to lure the striker away from Old Trafford. He said: “I know they are experienced, they know how to do that.
“Often it’s an interest for players, for managers, and that’s where we have to do it. We have to keep focussed on what is most important and the priority is always the next game.”
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