Erik ten Hag has revealed that he didn't bring on Cristiano Ronaldo in Manchester United's 6-3 loss at Manchester City 'out of respect' for his career.
The Red Devils were once again humiliated at the Etihad Stadium and went into the half-time break 4-0 down for the second time this season.
Erling Haaland and Phil Foden both grabbed hat-tricks for the hosts, while United pulled one back through Antony and substitute Anthony Martial hit a late brace to make the scoreline look slightly more respectable.
Ronaldo was an unused substitute on Sunday, and speaking post-match, Ten Hag explained that the decision to keep him on the bench was twofold.
"I didn't bring him on out of respect for his big career," Ten Hag said.
"And the other thing, there was then the advantage I could bring Antony Martial on. He needs the minutes but I don't want to point it out like that."
Ronaldo has started just three times for United this season, with two of those coming in the Europa League.
Ten Hag was also quizzed about his reluctance to play summer signing Casemiro from the off, instead preferring to start Scott McTominay alongside Christian Eriksen.
"On the day we signed him, we started to win and it's about the team," he added. "The team is doing really well, it's not against Casemiro, it's for, in this case, Scott McTominay, he performed great in the team and then we get into a run.
"But I'm sure it will be important for us in the long and short-term, he will find himself in the team but it has to come in a natural way."