Cristiano Ronaldo displayed "unacceptable" behaviour by walking off as Manchester United were putting the finishing touches to a victory over Tottenham, according to Gary Lineker.

The Portugal great, who was an unused substitute in Wednesday night's game at Old Trafford, walked along the touchline and down the tunnel before full-time.

According to a report in The Athletic, Ronaldo kept going and immediately left the stadium, rather than celebrate with team-mates after what was arguably the team's best performance of the season.

United were excellent as they secured a sixth Premier League win of the season to go fifth in the table, thriving without having to call on the 37-year-old Ronaldo.

The fixture was one in which Ronaldo hit a hat-trick last season, but he was a spare part in United's 2-0 win this week, only for the early exit to draw attention to himself again.

United manager Erik ten Hag said he would "deal with" the matter on Thursday.

Former Tottenham and Barcelona striker Lineker, presenting the BBC's Match of the Day programme, suggested Ronaldo had overstepped the mark.

"Cristiano Ronaldo: now we all know what a great player he's been and stuff like that, but walking off the pitch as a substitute with two minutes to go, before the game is finished, I'm sorry, but that's unacceptable. That's poor, isn't it?" Lineker said.

Pundit Micah Richards, a former Manchester City defender, agreed Ronaldo was out of order.

"It's so poor," said Richards. "For someone we've looked up to for so long, one of the greats of the game, to do that when your team are winning, making it about him, it's unacceptable."

United were terrific in front of their home fans, racking up 28 shots to Tottenham's nine, with goals coming from Fred in the 47th minute and Bruno Fernandes in the 69th. Their defence was also impressively stout, allowing Tottenham to only accumulate 0.48 expected goals.

Speaking to Amazon Prime after the contest, Ten Hag said dealing with Ronaldo was a problem for another day.

"I will deal with [Ronaldo] tomorrow, not today," he said. "Today we celebrate this victory, and now we have to recover from this."

Ten Hag said in a subsequent press conference that he chose Marcus Rashford rather than Ronaldo because of the England forward's pressing qualities.

"What we needed was we needed good pressing, you need a good counter-press, because from there you can create chances," Ten Hag said.

"Offensive-wise you need dynamic, so that is what Marcus can give you in a game."

Steven Gerrard's thoughts on the absence of defender Tyrone Mings should not have been made public by the Aston Villa head coach, believes former player Micah Richards.

The England defender was stripped of the Villa captaincy heading into the new Premier League season, with midfielder John McGinn handed the armband for the 2022-23 campaign.

And Mings was absent for the season opener at former club Bournemouth, where Villa fell to a 2-0 defeat against the newly promoted Cherries.

Speaking afterwards, Gerrard said he would select Mings again when he "looks me in the eye and shows that he's ready to play".

But Richards, who was a Villa player when Mings first arrived at the club, suggested Gerrard's comments had thrown his former team-mate "under the bus".

"I’m flabbergasted, to be honest, because Mings is well-loved by the dressing room by all accounts, and the Villa fans seem to love him as well," Richards said on BBC Radio 5 Live's Monday Night Club.

"He tweeted when he lost the captaincy, and he seemed to take it well.

"It's not like Gerrard... he sort of threw him under the bus a little bit there. Normally, you agree with everything Gerrard says – he's straight to the point, direct, and he's a manager that will deal with anything internal in the dressing room.

"But he sort of put the feelers out there that there is a little bit more to be honest. Nobody would take losing the captaincy well, that's just a natural reaction.

"I just feel, for both Mings and Gerrard, they could have kept that internal.

"Maybe Gerrard was frustrated because they just lost the game, and he was asked the question so gave an honest answer, but normally he keeps that between the group. It's very interesting."

Gary Neville launched a scathing attack on Manchester United's transfer strategy after their 2-1 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, labelling the Red Devils "desperate" amid reports linking them with Marko Arnautovic.

United began the Erik ten Hag era in dismal fashion on Sunday as Pascal Gross' double condemned them to an opening-day defeat to the Seagulls.

The result made Ten Hag the first United boss to lose his first Premier League game at the helm since Louis van Gaal did so against Swansea City in August 2014.

With wantaway striker Cristiano Ronaldo starting on the bench and fellow forward Anthony Martial injured, United struggled to test a resolute Brighton rearguard and only pulled a goal back when Alexis Mac Allister put through his own net.

In the aftermath of United's defeat, widespread reports suggested they had a £7.6million (€9m) bid for Bologna's 33-year-old forward Arnautovic rejected.

United have also failed to entice top target Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona thus far, and Neville did not hold back when discussing the club's recruitment.

"The first thing you do when the phone rings from Manchester United is reject the bid, because the reality of it is after losing that game against Brighton on Sunday, they're actually negotiating from an even worse position than they were on Saturday, and that's an even bigger problem for them," the former United defender said on Sky Sports.

"I've got a comment on everything in the world, apart from Manchester United signing Marko Arnautovic. I've got nothing to say.

"We've seen Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edison Cavani, Odion Ighalo - desperate, it's a pattern. 

"It's happening time and time again. I don't even get angry or animated about it anymore. I'm not going to comment about it."

Micah Richards was also unimpressed by the potential acquisition of Arnautovic, adding: "What has happened to Manchester United, seriously? I'm not going to stick the boot in. Arnautovic was a quality player, but he's 33 playing in Italy."

After playing in the Premier League for Stoke City and West Ham, Arnautovic spent two years in China with Shanghai Port before moving to Bologna – for whom he scored 14 Serie A goals last season – in 2021.

In his post-match media conference, Ten Hag declined to mention Arnautovic by name, only lamenting the unavailability of the strikers in his squad, with Ronaldo limited to a substitute appearance.

"I don't go into names because I think in this pre-season 250 players are involved or linked with Manchester United, so that's it," Ten Hag said. "We have two strikers, maybe a third one, with Marcus Rashford as well.

"We considered him as a striker, but he had a really good pre-season on the left side and today he had two really good chances coming in from the left side.

"So I think it was the right decision to do it like this, the typical number nine wasn't available today."

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