Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag says Cristiano Ronaldo was not brought on during the Manchester derby “out of respect for his big career” – a comment that has sparked huge debate.

The Reds fell to a humiliating 6-3 defeat against local rivals City on Sunday afternoon as goals from Erling Haaland [3] and Phil Foden [3] sealed all three points for the reigning Premier League champions.

Antony and Anthony Martial [2] managed to claw back some pride in the second-half but ultimately, the damage was done early on following a lacklustre start from Ten Hag’s men.

Image credit: AlamyThe Dutch manager, who has enjoyed mixed success during his opening months in charge, tried to change the course of the game by using all five of his substitutes.

Casemiro, Anthony Martial, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw and Fred were all brought in the second period, while five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo was left to stir on their failings throughout.

As you can see in the below footage and pictures, Ronaldo was far from impressed after it emerged that he wouldn’t be coming on to make an impact. And his reaction to City’s third goal speaks volumes.

Ronaldo’s reaction after it emerged that he wouldn’t be brought on. Image credit: Sky SportsAfter the full-time whistle, Ten Hag was questioned about his decision to leave Ronaldo on the bench during his post-match press conference and well, his response has raised eyebrows amongst fans.

According to The Athletic journalist Laurie Whitwell, the former Ajax manager said he didn’t bring on Portugal’s all-time top goalscorer with the team 4-0 down “out of respect for his big career”.

He added: “The other thing was the advantage I could bring Anthony Martial, he needs the minutes but I don’t want to point it out like that.”

You can see Ten Hag make those comments below.

When they made their final substitute of the day – Fred for Jadon Sancho – United were 5-1 down. So why not bring on arguably the greatest goalscorer of all time time to try and reduce the deficit?

As mentioned earlier, it’s a topic that has brought plenty of debate online.

One fan commented: “Erik ten Hag says he didn’t bring on Cristiano Ronaldo “out of respect for his big career”. I find that an astonishing thing for a manager to both do and admit.”

Another wrote: “Ten Hag has said that he didn’t bring Ronaldo on ‘out of respect for his career.’ If he respected his career so much then he should have let him leave Utd during the summer.”

A third said: “Ten Hag saying he didn’t bring Ronaldo on out of respect for his career is an astonishing admission.”

Some, however, respected Ten Hag’s decision to ‘respect’ his player. One fan said: “He didn’t need to be on field today. That game required pace and control, he is lacking pace and we weren’t going to control the game.

“Another commented: “If you deep it, you’ll realise that Ten Hag wants to protect their legacy, that’s why they aren’t starting. Respect.”

Thoughts on Erik ten Hag’s comment about leaving Ronaldo out? It’s certainly an interesting one. Let us know.