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Man Utd news: Erik ten Hag’s side backed to finish fourth despite Frenkie de Jong blow

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It’s been an interesting start to life as Manchester United manager for Erik ten Hag, to say the least.

The Dutchman has been praised by his new players for his training methods and United have achieved some positive results, beating Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace during their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.

But Ten Hag has faced difficulties off the pitch. United are still trying to secure Frenkie de Jong’s services, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer saga continues to drag on. It’s a hectic time but fear not – Mirror Football has rounded up the latest headlines from Old Trafford.

Ten Hag gives true feelings on Ronaldo chaos

Ten Hag has told Ronaldo it is “unacceptable” for him to leave games early after his Old Trafford departure on Sunday afternoon. The veteran forward, 37, was one of the United players who walked out of the stadium before the end of the friendly against Rayo Vallecano, which finished 1-1.

Ronaldo was brought off at the interval – ending his first appearance of pre-season – and was pictured leaving the stadium before full-time along with defender Diogo Dalot, who played no part in the game.

Ten Hag’s comments contradict the club’s stance on the matter after they confirmed they had ‘no issue’ with Ronaldo leaving Old Trafford. It also suggests the Portuguese superstar’s ongoing transfer saga is causing problems for the new United boss.

Erik ten Hag has told his players none of them can leave early in future
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Getty Images)

What do you make of Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer saga? Let us know in the comments below!

“I certainly don’t condone this,” said Ten Hag when asked about players leaving early. “This is unacceptable. For everyone. We are a team and you have to stay until the end.”

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Ferdinand backs Man Utd to finish fourth

Rio Ferdinand is backing the Red Devils to break into the top four of the Premier League this season. United finished sixth last time round and haven’t won a trophy since May 2017. Yet the former England international believes they’ve already improved under Ten Hag.

“A subplot to those two [Liverpool and Manchester City] trying to win the league is between Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs – and possibly Arsenal – for those third and fourth spots,” Ferdinand told Mirror Football. “I think that’s going to be a great race, as well.

“I’m sure someone from out of the pack will come up and jump into that area as well, like we saw with West Ham last season. It’s going to be interesting. I think it [the top six in order] will go Man City, Liverpool, Spurs, Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal.”

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Chelsea battling Man Utd for De Jong’s signature

Chelsea are hoping to beat Manchester United to Frenkie de Jong’s signature
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Chelsea are reportedly in direct talks with Barcelona to sign De Jong.

The Netherlands international, 25, has been linked with United for several months. It’s believed the Red Devils have agreed a fee with the Spanish club for De Jong but are struggling to persuade him to move to Old Trafford, allowing Chelsea to swoop in.

Barcelona are expected to allow De Jong to leave the Camp Nou this summer to ease their financial burden. They must make sales if they are to register their new signings – including Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski – before La Liga’s deadline of August 13.

As reported by The Athletic, Chelsea are optimistic about striking a deal with Barcelona for De Jong. The Blues are looking to bolster their squad and have already agreed deals for Kalidou Koulibaly, Raheem Sterling, Carney Chukwuemeka and Gabriel Slonina.

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