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Erik ten Hag explains why he benched Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire

By Harry Smith

Erik ten Hag explains why he benched Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire

The manager had to make the adjustments because of Liverpool's quality

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When Manchester United unveiled their official lineup for tonight’s match against Liverpool, the first two things that caught everyone’s attention was the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire were dropped from the starting XI, one being the captain of the team, and the other one arguably being the best player of the squad. Erik ten Hag talked to Sky Sports before the kick-off and explained his decision:

First, when the Dutch coach was asked why he decided to start Raphael Varane over Harry Maguire, he explained that he needed his speed and experience to stop Liverpool’s attackers: “Varane is a very experienced player, he has won everything and will bring the communication in the back four. We want mobility and agility in the back four”.

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When he was questioned about Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence from the starting XI, he admitted the team needed young and energetic players: “We know Liverpool are a really good team and you know you need to press them. You have to do that out of a block and need energy, that is why we went with Rashford, Sancho, and Elanga”, he told Sky Sports.

The 52-year-old manager could be playing with fire with these two decisions because both Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire have a lot of power in the dressing room. However, he is showing great character by benching them, because adjustments needed to be made before facing such a strong team like Liverpool. Hopefully, these changes help the team get the win.

New faces

Lastly, he finally spoke about the new signing Carlos Henrique Casemiro, who was unveiled as a Manchester player before kick-off: “He is the cement between the stones. That is what we have been looking for in the summer, and we have found him. I’m very happy with this signing”.

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