Erik ten Hag says he will act as both "friend" and "teacher" for Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United this season.
Portugal superstar Ronaldo remained at Old Trafford despite reportedly wanting out during the transfer window due to the club's failure to qualify for the Champions League this season.
Rumours continued to swirl right up until deadline day but Ronaldo, who returned for a second spell from Juventus in August 2021, was part of the squad that defeated Leicester City 1-0 – coming off the bench in Thursday's win.
"[He stayed], as we said. It's really early in the season and we have a squad and we have more than starting 11 players and that is what you see now," Ten Hag said.
"Players who are now on the bench can play in one, two or three weeks."
Ronaldo's solitary start from five Premier League appearances this season came in the embarrassing 4-0 drubbing at Brentford last month.
Since that humiliating defeat at the Bees, United earned a 2-0 triumph over fierce rivals Liverpool and followed up with back-to-back 1-0 victories over Southampton and Leicester.
Part of the reason for Ronaldo's lack of starts can be attributed to the fact he missed much of pre-season due to a family issue.
For United boss Ten Hag, Ronaldo will be treated the same as any other player depending on the situation.
"I will be his friend, sometimes I will be his teacher. It depends on the situation," he added.
"But, as we all know, he didn't have the pre-season and you cannot miss the pre-season.
"It is a base, especially in the game we play, the way of play. We play another type in comparison with last year.
"It depends on the demands, cooperation and it demands certain positioning, in and out of position, and the other thing is fitness."
United face Arsenal on Sunday with Ten Hag having a few decisions to ponder, including Casemiro – a transfer-window signing from Real Madrid – pushing for a first start.