After Anthony Elanga and Christian Eriksen were introduced in the 87th minute, Ronaldo started walking towards the tunnel in the 90th minute with United 2-0 up and two substitutions remaining.
Ronaldo irked Ten Hag by leaving Old Trafford before full-time following his half-time withdrawal in the pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano in July. The Dutchman described Ronaldo’s early departure then as “unacceptable”.
United produced their best performance under Ten Hag against Spurs without Ronaldo, who has only started two Premier League games this season and was dropped after the goalless draw with Newcastle on Sunday.
“Yeah, I don’t pay attention to that, we deal with that tomorrow,” Ten Hag said. “We want to focus on this team, it was a magnificent performance from all 11 players.
“I have to mention, I said 11 players, I have to correct myself: it was a performance also from the subs who came on who had a good role and, once again, it was a squad performance.
“And, in answer to your question, we deal with that tomorrow and what we have seen today was 11 players who defend, 11 players who attack there was a lot of dynamic in the attack as well. I am pleased with that but I won’t say I am totally satisfied because good is not good enough, that has to be the standard here.”
In explaining Marcus Rashford’s recall to the centre forward role at Ronaldo’s expense, Ten Hag appeared to outline the Portuguese’s weaknesses that have restricted him to two Premier League starts this season.
“What we needed was first, I think, against this Tottenham, you need good pressing,” Ten Hag explained, “you need good counter-press. Because from there you can create chances, so we needed really good pressing players.
“And, offensive-wise, you need dynamic and that is what Marcus can bring. You saw in the last 20 minutes against Newcastle from the moment he came in, he changed the game, more dynamic, more gaps and the players benefited from it.”