Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has said they do not want to draw Manchester United in the Europa League.
The Red Devils finished the Europa League group campaign with 15 points from six matches, the same as Real Sociedad. But the Spanish outfit edged Man Utd out to the first place in the group, courtesy of a superior goal difference.
Man Utd will have to play a two-legged play-off against a Champions League drop-outfit for a place in the Europa League round-of-16 after they failed to finish top of Group E.
One of their possible opponents in the play-off are Sporting CP, the club Cristiano Ronaldo began his senior professional career. The Portuguese outfit failed to qualify for the Champions League round of 16 after finishing third in Group D.
Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim makes Cristiano Ronaldo plea to Man Utd
Quizzed about facing Manchester United and Ronaldo in the Europa League, Sporting manager Amorim said do not want to face the Red Devils.
He also joked that if they draw Man Utd, Ronaldo must be kept on the bench so he does not score goals against his former side.
“We don’t want Manchester United, but if we have to, Ronaldo stays on the bench, so he doesn’t score goals,” Amorim said, as quoted by Manchester Evening News.
Meanwhile, Man Utd needed to win by at least two clear goals against Real Sociedad in their final Europa League 22/23 group stage match to directly qualify for the round-of-16.
But the Premier League side could only manage to secure a 1-0 victory, courtesy of a goal from Alejandro Garnacho. The Argentine youngster sent Man Utd ahead in the 17th minute with an emphatic finish after Ronaldo slipped him in.
Ronaldo had a glorious opportunity to score the second goal that would have made Man Utd the Group E winners. The 37-year-old pounced on a mistimed clearance from Jon Pacheco, and he had just the goalkeeper to beat. But the Portugal international lobbed the ball well above the bar.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo has been struggling for goals for Man Utd in the 22/23 season. The star striker has featured in 15 games across all competitions for the Old Trafford-outfit this season.
But he has only managed to score three goals for Man Utd this season. Of the three, just one came in the Premier League, with Ronaldo producing the other two in the Europa League.