Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick says he did not take Cristiano Ronaldo’s irritated reaction to his substitution against Brentford personally.
The forward was hauled off in the 71st minute during the 3-1 Premier League victory on Wednesday along with Mason Greenwood. Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford both came on as United look to see out their victory.
After the game, Rangnick revealed he had taken Ronaldo off to try and secure maximum points, having been punished by Aston Villa a few days earlier in a late 2-2 draw.
Ronaldo has a neck injury and is a doubt for Saturday’s match against West Ham, according to Rangnick.
The fixture could be vital for their Champions League hopes, but there were still lingering questions over Ronaldo’s reaction in Rangnick’s pre-match press conference.
When asked if he saw the situation as a challenge to his authority, Rangnick said: „I didn’t at all see or interpret that as if he was challenging me, he just showed too emotionally that he wasn’t happy to be replaced.
„This was not the first time. If you have a look at the moment when Sir Alex replaced him or other coaches replaced him in the past, it was actually pretty similar. It shows that in the end, it has nothing to do with the manager at the time, it’s about his own ambition and desire to stay on the pitch.
„But it’s a team sport and for us, it’s important to make sure we get the most out of each game, the maximum points. Then it’s a decision of each manager of what do we need right now to secure the game, to make sure we win it and what kind of weapons do we need on the pitch to score on the counter-attack.
„I’m not somebody who says afterwards that everything was perfect, but in this case, everything I hoped would result for that decision, they were confirmed in the end.
„If at one stage, Cristiano will also be maybe a manager himself in a couple of years, then he will have the same experience himself.
„I don’t blame him for that, but any manager would wish it shouldn’t be too emotional, more so in front of the TV cameras. I don’t think this will be to the benefit of anyone – not to his benefit, the benefit of his team-mates or the others – but in the end, it’s an emotional game. Players are being emotional, but I didn’t take it personally at all in that moment.
„He would have loved to stay on the pitch and play on, I can understand that because he thought he would have been able to score one or two goals. But with the very disappointed experience we had at Villa Park, to me it was logically that we had to do it in a different way this time.“
Rangnick ‘wouldn’t be unhappy’ if Lingard stayed
Another player in the spotlight at the moment is Jesse Lingard, who is attracting transfer interest – especially from Newcastle – with his contract set to expire this summer.
But Rangnick says he would not be ‘unhappy’ if Lingard stayed at the club this month, but the decision is out of his hands.
He added: „With Jesse, it is the same as it is in regard to a few other players. He’s a really good player, I can see that in every training session. For me, it’s normal that other clubs, such as Newcastle, show interest in him, but I’m not the one who is dealing with that.
„It’s also a question of what does the player want? What kind of other positions does he really have? Does he see a chance to get more game time? Those are all questions that I cannot answer for him or for another player. This is something that has to be done by the players and the agents themselves.
„What I can say is he’s a very good player, a technical play and he can play in many Premier League clubs on a regular basis. Here at Manchester United, it’s not so easy because we have other players who play in that position and we cannot change from one game to the other in five or is positions.
„Therefore, the question for him is – I know that his contract is expiring in the summer, but the question is what does he want to do? Does he want more game time from now on, then I think it’s quite legitimate to speak and think about other options.
„But I wouldn’t be unhappy if he stayed for the rest of the season because I know he is a player who can play, even if we need to play him from the start. I know what kind of level I will get from him and that’s how I would describe the situation.“
Who will be on the move in January?
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