- Portuguese saw no game time vs City
- Manager made that call out of "respect"
- United were four goals down at half-time
WHAT HAPPENED? The Portuguese superstar, who has started just one Premier League game this season, saw no game time at the Etihad Stadium as the Red Devils endured a humbling afternoon at the hands of their arch rivals. As United found themselves four goals down at half-time, leading many Red Devils supporters to head for the exits, Ten Hag decided that it was not fair to throw a five-time Ballon d’Or winner under the spotlight.
WHAT THEY SAID: Quizzed as to why he opted to leave an all-time great among the substitutes, Ten Hag told reporters afterwards: “I wouldn't bring him in out of respect for Cristiano and for his big career. The other thing was the advantage, I could bring Anthony Martial as he needs the minutes, but I don't want to point it out like that.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Martial did net two late consolation efforts for United following his introduction, but the Red Devils struggled to contain City throughout and ultimately came unstuck as Erling Haaland and Phil Foden recorded hat-tricks for the hosts.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
DID YOU KNOW? Since the start of 2020-21, Man Utd have conceded 4+ first-half goals in four Premier League games (v Spurs in Oct 2020, Liverpool in Oct 2021, Brentford in Aug 2022, Man City today); this is twice as often as any other side in this time.
WHAT NEXT FOR MAN UTD? The Red Devils will be in Europa League action on Thursday against Omonia, while their next Premier League outing is set to see them take in a trip to Everton.