Cristiano Ronaldo to fight FA charge of improper and/or violent conduct | Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo will be supported by Manchester United when answering a Football Association charge of improper and/or violent conduct regarding the knocking to the ground of a young Everton fan’s phone after the defeat at Goodison Park on 9 April.

Ronaldo has been cautioned by Merseyside police in August after it reviewed video footage and he is not expected to deny the charge but wishes to explain the circumstance and any mitigation. Erik ten Hag said the club would help Ronaldo, who has until Monday to respond to the FA.

“We talked about that and he will not accept it,” the manager said, meaning Ronaldo will not accept an automatic penalty but will put his case.

United host Omonoia Nicosiaon Thursday in their fourth Europa League Group E match, looking to complete the double over the Cypriot club after beating them 3-2 last week. Anthony Martial is unavailable because of the back problem sustained in Sunday’s 2-1 win at Everton. Ten Hag understands the frustration, the striker having also had hamstring and achilles problems this season.

“I’ve had several talks with him about that,” he said. “I’m really disappointed for him – from the quality in all the minutes [this season] he played he did very well, also Sunday. He played well, a good assist for Antony for the first goal, but also in the pressing he was really good. He was an important factor that played well in the first half.”

Martial is not training and may also miss Sunday’s visit of Newcastle. “We will see how he develops,” Ten Hag said.

If United finish second they will face a playoff against a third-ranked team from the Champions League group phase. “I told the players weeks ago before the break that it’s important to get No 1 in this group,” Ten Hag said. “Our aim is always to win all the games, but it’s clear and we want to avoid that.”

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