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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag tried to shield Cristiano Ronaldo from criticism Friday after the forward left a preseason game early, and insisted that the Portugal star remains part of his plans for this season.

Ronaldo reportedly told United this offseason that he wanted to leave to play for a Champions League club and speculation about his mindset intensified when he was part of a group of players who left Old Trafford without permission before the end of Sunday’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano.

Ten Hag initially said it was “unacceptable for everyone” to leave early, but was quick to point out Friday that Ronaldo shouldn’t be singled out for criticism.

“There were many players who left, but the spotlight is on Cristiano and that is not right,” Ten Hag said during a news conference ahead of United’s season opener against Brighton on Sunday. “So I think then do your research and make out many players left, that was what was said. … He was part of it. Again, there were a lot of players.”

The 37-year-old Ronaldo returned to United from Real Madrid last year but couldn’t help the team compete for trophies during a disappointing season when it finished sixth in the Premier League, 35 points behind champion Manchester City.

Ten Hag is entering his first season in charge and is keen to keep the five-time Ballon d’Or winner at the club, even though it’s unclear how the forward fits into his tactical plans.

Ronaldo missed the preseason tour of Thailand and Australia due to a family issue but played the first 45 minutes against Rayo Vallecano.

Ten Hag wouldn’t say whether the Portuguese will start against Brighton, but made it clear that he expects Ronaldo to be a key part of his team.

“I told you before, we plan with the season (with him). We have a top striker and I’m really happy he’s here, he’s in the squad and we stick to that plan,” the Dutch coach said.

Ten Hag confirmed that Anthony Martial will miss Sunday’s opener with a hamstring injury but remained coy on whether he expects the club to complete a deal for Dutch playmaker Frenkie de Jong before the end of the transfer window. United has brought in midfielder Christian Eriksen, and defenders Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia so far this offseason.

“I’m happy with the signings until now,” Ten Hag said. “We don’t just need any player, you need the right players and that’s the point we’re working on together.”


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I’m a foodie & my tasty recipe can make an Air Fryer pizza in minutes & the dough is so quick and easy too

SOMETIMES a large cheesy pizza with all the toppings is the only thing that can satisfy a food craving.

But if you're trying to steer clear of the oven amid the cost-of-living crisis, then listen up!

4Becky Excell has shared her delicious recipe for making an Air Fryer pizzaCredit: TikTok/@beckyexcell 4The dough consists of 260g Greek yoghurt mixed with 250g of self-raising flourCredit: TikTok/@beckyexcell

According to foodie Becky Excell, who is from the UK, her tasty recipe can make an Air Fryer pizza in minutes.

In the clip, she begins: "Can you cook pizza in the Air Fryer? The answer is yes and I'm going to show you how.

"For this, I use my really simple two-ingredient yogurt dough which is literally fool proof."

She then goes onto reveal that this consists of 260g Greek yoghurt mixed with 250g of self-raising flour.

"You just roll it out to the size of your Air Fryer basket on baking paper," Becky continues.

"Air Fry the base for six minutes at 200c then flip, add the toppings and cook for 3-4 more minutes."

The foodie adds: "Obviously the size of the pizza depends on the size of your Air Fryer but if yours is smaller, you can make loads of diddy pizzas.

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"Still super delicious as well as being so quick and easy to make.

Most read in LifestyleBAD HABIT I work at Best Buy - shoppers who try out a common hack should be 'embarrassed'PASTY PROBLEM I wear 28i bras and tried lifting pasties - there was a problem after minutesGOT THE HUMP I did a SKIMS haul and Kim, we need to talk - the camel toe is realA UNIFORMED HOOTER I’m a Hooters girl - my bra was checked before I started each shift

"It's basically like a mini pizza oven!"

The post has since garnered a whopping 52,000 views, with many excited to give the recipe a whirl for themselves.

"Would this work with gluten free flour?" asked one.

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Becky replied: "Yes I have only ever tried it with gluten free flour. Haven’t touched non gluten free flour in 13 years."

A second commented: "I make easy pizzas in the air fryer by using wraps and either leave them flat or roll them."

4The dough needs to be rolled out to the size of your Air Fryer basketCredit: TikTok/@beckyexcell 4Becky added cheese and pepperoni as her toppings of choiceCredit: TikTok/@beckyexcell Topics
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