Erik ten Hag admits he did not want to disrespect by bringing him on in the second half of ’s 6-3 defeat to on Sunday.
and Phil Foden both scored hat-tricks as Pep Guardiola’s side ran out comfortable winners at the Etihad Stadium.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, started the match as a substitute but was left on the bench for the game, while Anthony Martial replaced Marcus Rashford with 31 minutes remaining and went on to score twice.
Asked if he now considers Ronaldo as his third-choice striker after United’s loss to City, Ten Hag replied: ‘I wouldn’t bring him in out of respect for Cristiano, for his big career.
‘And the other thing is there was the advantage I could bring Anthony Martial, he needs the minutes but I don’t want to point it out like that.’
Ten Hag also faced criticism over his decision to play Casemiro ahead of Scott McTominay for the derby against City.
But the United manager insists Casemiro must win his place in the team ‘in a natural way’.
When asked if Casemiro should be starting key games ahead of McTominay, Ten Hag replied: ‘On the day we signed him [Casemiro] we started to win.
‘It’s about the team, when the team’s doing really well it’s not against Casemiro it’s for, in this case, Scott McTominay because he performed great in the team, then we got into a run.
‘I’m sure he [Casemiro] will be important for us, and also in the short term he will find himself in the team, but he has to come in a natural way.’
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