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Michael Owen tells Ten Hag why he got it wrong with Ronaldo

Erik ten Hag, Cristiano Ronaldo
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The 2001 Ballon d’Or winner pointed out how Ten Hag let a ready-made solution to his goal problem slip away.

Erik ten Hag ought to have played Cristiano Ronaldo more as it would’ve solved Manchester United’s current goal problem, according to Michael Owen.

With just four Premier League starts under Ten Hag this season, Ronaldo left United in a mutual agreement last month, shortly after the forward slammed the club and manager in a TalkTV interview with Piers Morgan.

As things stand, Ten Hag looks set to rely on Marcus Rashford for goals – especially as Liverpool appear to have beaten United to PSV Eindhoven attacker Cody Gakpo.

“That’s the problem [scoring goals],” Owen said on Amazon Prime Video.

“I hear Ten Hag talking about Marcus Rashford probably needs to score 20 goals this, that and the other. Well, they had 20 goals sat right under his nose but, unfortunately, he [Ronaldo] was sat on the bench a lot of the time.”

Owen added: “The way things were going, there had to be an end to it, but it didn’t have to be like that. He could have played him every week and then he would have solved this problem of scoring goals and that’s the point.

“You either play Cristiano Ronaldo every week and never bring him off, or you don’t. If you don’t, then he’s no good at your club. He’s not a substitute or a squad player.”

Rashford scored his fifth Premier League goal of the season to help United beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 on Tuesday. Anthony Martial and Fred were the other two goalscorers.

A report from The Telegraph, meanwhile, suggests Ten Hag will try to find a short-term replacement for Ronaldo in January by signing a striker on loan after United overspent in the summer transfer window.

The fifth-placed Red Devils next visit Wolves on Saturday for another league game.