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Erik ten Hag rates Ronaldo impact after Brighton cameo

Cristiano Ronaldo
© Manchester United FC

The Portuguese ace started from the bench during Sunday’s opening day defeat to Brighton.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag felt Cristiano Ronaldo made a positive impact from the bench against Brighton on Sunday, but he warned it will take for the star to regain his fitness.

The Dutchman benched Ronaldo for his first Premier League match since taking over at Old Trafford in the summer. He started new signing Christian Eriksen in the middle instead. The experiment, however, failed to pay off. United lost 2-1 to Brighton after a first-half brace from Pascal Gross.

Ronaldo replaced Fred in the second half, and while the forward’s presence wasn’t enough to turn the game around, Ten Hag felt he made a positive impact.

“It was clear to see that in the second half, we were better in midfield with Eriksen down and Ronaldo up,” the coach said after the final whistle.

“Then we created and [Marcus] Rashford had two really good chances. It’s a pity we didn’t score them for 2-2.

“It [Ronaldo’s fitness] takes time, you cannot force it. He has had one week of training, so he has to do more to get fit. This game will help him with 35-40 minutes. Now we have one week and he will be better next week.”

United’s only goal of the game came in the second half through an own goal from Brighton midfielder Alexis Mac Allister.

The Red Devils return to action this Saturday away to Brentford in the Premier League.