Did Cristiano Ronaldo's exit make Man Utd a better team? Erik ten Hag acknowledges 'mentality' shift at Old Trafford as he responds to CR7 question

Ronaldo Ten Hag 2022-23Getty
  • Ten Hag addresses Ronaldo exit
  • Admitted he likes team's "mentality" now
  • Ronaldo left and joined Al-Nassr in record-breaking deal

WHAT HAPPENED? United and Ronaldo reached a mutual contract termination agreement in November after an explosive interview with TV host Piers Morgan ahead of the 2022 World Cup. The Portuguese star had fallen out of favour at Old Trafford as Ten Hag looked to put his stamp on the United squad, and the Dutch manager has spoken about how this impacted his team.

WHAT THEY SAID: When asked if Ronaldo's exit improved United, Ten Hag told The Times: "If you're observing that, it's up to you. So, what I want to see from my team is a team who are proactive, dynamic, determined. I've seen many times Manchester United with that attitude, so that's what I like. It's not that we are satisfied. There's still a long way to go but we're definitely showing this mentality."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ten Hag may be reluctant to admit that Ronaldo's departure sparked an improvement, but immediately after the World Cup break United won seven games in a row and reached the Carabao Cup final, which they went on to win. Players such as Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes flourished in the second half of the season as United developed a consistent streak that had been missing towards the end of Ronaldo's second spell at the club.

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Ten Hag - ronaldoGettyMan United Carabao Cup 2022-23GettyRonaldo Man Utd 2022-23Getty

WHAT NEXT FOR MAN UNITED? The Red Devils have the unique opportunity to complete a domestic cup double on June 3 as they face Manchester City, who are looking to create history of their own and replicate their close rivals' treble of 1998-1999, in the FA Cup final.