Ralf Rangnick reveals what he said to Cristiano Ronaldo after substitution in Man Utd’s win over Brentford

The Manchester United interim manager insisted their is no issue between himself and the star striker.

Ralf Rangnick has explained his decision to replace Cristiano Ronaldo in Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Brentford was mainly to ensure his side didn’t blow a two-goal lead again, as they did last weekend in the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.

The Portuguese forward was replaced with 20 remaining at the Brentford Community Stadium, and was seen gesticulating and evidently stropping as he sat on the bench afterwards.

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The score was 2-0 at that stage, and Marcus Rashford, who was part of the double change along with Harry Maguire, quickly added a third to rule out any real chance of a comeback from the hosts.

It was for this reason that Rangnick felt his decision was justified, as he explained to Ronaldo while seated on the sideline during the game.

“He was asking me ‘why me? Why did you take me off?’. I said ‘I have to make the decision in the interest of the team, of the club’,” the German told reporters in his post-match press conference.

“We had exactly the same situation five days ago at Villa Park, being 2-0 up with 15 minutes to play and, of course, we didn’t want to make the same mistake again. I decided to switch to a back five and bring on Harry Maguire and Marcus as another fast winger on the right side.

Ronaldo had missed the last two games wit a hip injury. Credit: Getty.

“Cristiano was not happy and he’s a goalscorer and he would have wished to stay on and maybe score a goal for himself. But for us, it was more important to be compact, to make sure we had enough legs and also enough strong headers to defend their free-kicks.

“When we scored the third goal I said exactly that to him. I said ‘look Cristiano, I understand that you are still ambitious and you want to score yourself, but maybe in a few years when you are a head coach yourself you will hopefully take the same decision and be in the same role I was today’.”

No issue with Ronaldo

Rangnick was also asked about his relationship with Ronaldo in the press conference, with the 67-year-old stating there has been no falling out between the pair.

“I didn’t expect him to hug me after being substituted,” Rangnick said via video link. “I know how those goalscoring players think but, again, I have to make my decisions in the interest of the team and the club. This is exactly what I told him.

“I have no issue whatsoever with Cristiano but he came back from a little injury and did not play for two weeks. 2-0 up with 15 minutes to play, having players like Marcus on the bench and even Anthony Martial, why should I not make use of that? That is why I would always do it again.

“I have been here now for six weeks and I have not had any sort of issue with Cristiano,” he added. “We spoke before the Villa cup game and the league game with Villa and he told me he had a little issue with his hip flexor and we agreed, between the two of us, that it would be better to make sure he has no problems with that type of injury anymore. That is why he was not in the squad. Today he was available again, that’s why I played from the start.”