Erik ten Hag reviews Everton victory
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Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t accepted a charge by the Football Association concerning an incident after Manchester United’s Premier League defeat at Everton in April. United manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed Ronaldo’s stance ahead of an FA hearing after the governing body recommenced its investigation in August.
Everton dealt the Red Devils a further blow to their top-four hopes at the end of last season, winning 1-0 at Goodison Park. After full-time, Ronaldo was filmed appearing to knock a phone out of an Everton fan’s hand as he left the pitch for the dressing room, sparking outrage online.
The FA responded by charging the 37-year-old for breaching rule E3, relating to improper and/or violent conduct. He voluntarily attended a police interview in the aftermath and apologised to the supporter on social media, inviting him to a game at Old Trafford.
But speaking ahead of United’s Europa League clash against Omonoia on Thursday, Ten Hag revealed that despite cooperating with the police on the matter, Ronaldo wouldn’t be accepting the FA’s charge. He told reporters: “You mean from last year? We spoke about that, and he will not accept it.”
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In August, the Merseyside Police confirmed a 37-year-old had been cautioned over an allegation of assault and criminal damage following Everton’s game against United on April 9. But a police spokesperson confirmed the investigation had been ‘concluded’ by way of ‘conditional caution’.
The FA’s inquiry is ongoing, though, with Ronaldo showing no intention of accepting his charge. The investigation won’t affect his availability, and he’s expected to start in the Europa League again when Omonoia visit Old Trafford on matchday four of the competition.
Ten Hag also suggested that he wasn’t happy with Ronaldo’s fitness at the start of the season after missing pre-season amid his desire to leave United. But he believes the Portuguese icon has improved his condition and will likely continue to call on him after he netted his 700th club career goal in Sunday’s win at Goodison Park.
“I want to support him as good as possible,” Ten Hag added. “We have certain demands from players, what we expect in certain positions. I want to get the best out of him, he’s in better shape now, and I’m happy with that. At the start, it was the case [lack of fitness]. It’s proven once again that no one can miss a pre-season.”
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