Omonia manager gives his verdict on Cristiano Ronaldo's lack of minutes at Manchester United

Omonia Nicosia manager Neil Lennon believes that Manchester United “will need” Cristiano Ronaldo over the course of the season.

Erik ten Hag didn’t bring the 37-year-old on in Sunday’s 6-3 defeat at Manchester City “out of respect” for what he has achieved in his career.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who has scored 699 club goals during his career, has started the last five Premier League games on the bench.

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

With Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial both returning from injuries against the Citizens, United’s number seven is seemingly Ten Hag’s third choice striker.

Neil Lennon gives his verdict on Cristiano Ronaldo’s lack of minutes at Manchester United

Ronaldo has only started back-to-back games under the former Ajax manager in the Europa League.

Ahead of tomorrow night’s clash against Cypriot side Omonia, Lennon spoke in glowing terms about the former Juventus man in his pre-match press conference and gave his thoughts on Ronaldo’s lack of game time.

Lennon said: “I understand in the sense why he hasn’t been playing, but you can’t keep him out [of the team] for long. Over the course of the season, Manchester United will need Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Once he hits his match fitness then he could have another bumper season. The fact that he’s going to be here in this stadium, and I’ll get to see him again live and close up is fantastic because he’s one of the greatest players of all time, so it’s very, very special.

“We should pay tribute to him because him and [Lionel] Messi are two of the greatest of any generation, and he may not be around for too much longer although the way he keeps on talking, he wants to keep on playing which is amazing.

“It’ll be a great thrill to see him on the pitch here in Cyprus. To have one of the biggest names here will be a fantastic occasion and I hope we rise to the occasion on the night.”

Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

During his playing career, Lennon, who has previously managed Celtic and Bolton Wanderers, played 12 times against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United across his spells with Leicester City and Celtic.

Back in November 2006, Lennon captained Gordon Strachan’s Celtic side to a 1-0 win against Manchester United at Celtic Park in the Champions League.

A certain 21-year-old by the name of Cristiano Ronaldo started that game.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.