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Erik ten Hag has beaten Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘impossible’ Manchester United challenge

Erik ten Hag has beaten Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘impossible’ Manchester United challenge

In January 2022, Cristiano Ronaldo expressed doubts about the mentality of  Manchester United  and claimed that the club would struggle to compete with the top three teams in the Premier League without a stronger mentality.

However, a year later, under the leadership of Erik ten Hag, Manchester United is the only team in the top flight still competing in all four competitions and has a chance of achieving both league and cup success.

Ronaldo, on the other hand, requested a transfer during the summer and eventually left the club in November after making controversial comments.

Despite a rough start to the season, with losses against Brighton and Brentford, many believed it would take some time for Ten Hag to turn around Manchester United’s fortunes.

However, Ten Hag has reinvigorated Manchester United in recent months and they are now in third place in the league table. They have gone 10 league games without a loss at Old Trafford and are only two points behind rivals Manchester City, in stark contrast to the struggles experienced by Ralf Rangnick during his time at the club.

Last year, Ronaldo was interviewed by Sky Sports about whether Manchester United could close the gap on their top-four competitors without the right mentality. He was unambiguous in his response and made it clear what he believed.

“Impossible – I think it’s the main point,” he replied. “I don’t accept that our mentality be less than being in the top three in the Premier League. I think to build up good things, sometimes you have to destroy a few things. So why not – new year, new life and I hope that Manchester can be the level that the fans want. They deserve that.

“We are capable of changing things now. I know the way but I’m not going to mention it here because I don’t think it’s ethical on my part to say that. What I can say is we can do better – all of us. Manchester belongs to important things, so we have to change that. I don’t want to be here to be in sixth place, or seventh place, or fifth place. I’m here to try to win, to compete.

“I think we compete but we are not yet in our best level. But we have a long way to improve and I believe if we change our mind, we can achieve big things.”

Manchester United finished the previous season in sixth place, which was not acceptable to Ronaldo.

The club went without a trophy once again, and it seemed that Ten Hag would have to perform miracles to improve a struggling and low-confidence team.

Given their current standing, both Ten Hag and his players deserve a lot of credit.

They have the opportunity to end their trophy drought when they face Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley later this month, and they are well positioned to qualify for the Champions League.

Although the 2-2 draw with Leeds United on Wednesday was a disappointment, especially because it could have increased the gap between Manchester United and Newcastle, the fact that they were able to come from behind and draw the match highlights the improvement in the players’ mentality.

They are now disappointed with draws, which shows how much they have progressed.

Under Ten Hag, Old Trafford has become a stronghold, similar to what it was during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time at the club. The mentality displayed by everyone involved in the club demonstrates that Ronaldo was right to raise concerns about it last year, even if he did not want to be part of the change this season.

Erik ten Hag has beaten Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘impossible’ Manchester United challenge

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