Wesley Sneijder reveals the moment Erik ten Hag lost the Man Utd dressing room | Football

The Dutch coach is under increasing pressure at Old Trafford (Picture: Getty)

Dutch legend Wesley Sneijder has suggested the writing was on the wall for Erik ten Hag nearly 18 months ago when he axed Cristiano Ronaldo from the Manchester United squad.

The 39-year-old enraged both his manager and the club’s hierarchy when he gave an interview with Piers Morgan in November 2022 in which he said he had ‘no respect’ for Ten Hag and criticised the Glazer family’s stewardship of the club.

Ronaldo had been at loggerheads with his manager long before that, beginning with his decision to leave a pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano before the final whistle had been blown.

He was then dropped the following month for a clash with Liverpool, with Ten Hag informing the Portuguese star during a team meeting, while he also stormed down the tunnel before full-time in a win over Tottenham.

The interview with Morgan was the final straw and Ronaldo’s contract was terminated with immediate effect, with the former Real Madrid forward moving to Saudi Arabia to join Al Nassr not long after.

Although Ten Hag’s firm stance was applauded at the time, Ronaldo’s former Real team-mate Sneijder now claims it has contributed to the growing pressure his compatriot now faces at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag is fighting to save his job, particularly after another disappointing result against Burnley at the weekend, and Sneijder believes his power battle with Ronaldo ultimately lost him the respect of United’s players.

Speaking on Dutch TV show Veronica Offside on Monday night, Sneijder said: ‘He already made a mistake by competing with Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Wesley Sneijder

Ronaldo and Sneijder were team-mates at Real Madrid (Picture: Getty)

‘He lost everyone’s respect there. He thought it would work the other way around, but of course not.

‘Those guys in the dressing room thought, “Is this man crazy?”’

On suggestions Ten Hag might be axed at the end of the season, Sneijder added: ‘Of course he already knows that he has to leave.

‘But you’re not going to go yourself. If I was him, I would sit there comfortably [until he’s sacked].’

United’s draw with Burnley officially ended their hopes of finishing in the top four and they are now fighting just to claim a place in the Europa League, though Ten Hag has defended his side and believes he is building a team for the future.

‘We have some very young players and that’s why we built this club back. That takes time, and we build this by bringing in young players,’ he said at the weekend.

‘Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho, Kobbie Mainoo – they are all in the first season of the Premier League and the Premier League gets more intense year by year.

‘We have seen the data and it’s much more intense than last season, especially when you see over the last four or five seasons. Those players have to adjust and that takes time.

‘I am sorry for everyone. So, I am very impatient but there we need patience and fans they need patience. We built here a team, and they need experience.’

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