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‘Why did you take me off?’: Rangnick explains decision to sub Ronaldo in Man Utd’s win vs Brentford - The Athletic

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has explained why he substituted Cristiano Ronaldo in his side's 3-1 victory over Brentford.Despite a...

  • Posted on 20th Jan, 2022 08:00 AM
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‘Why did you take me off?’: Rangnick explains decision to sub Ronaldo in Man Utd’s win vs Brentford - The Athletic Image

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has explained why he substituted Cristiano Ronaldo in his side's 3-1 victory over Brentford.

Despite a disappointing first-half performance, second-half goals from teenager Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford gave United a comfortable 3-0 lead before Brentford’s Ivan Toney scored a consolation goal in the 85th minute.

With United 2-0 up and 19 minutes to go, however, Ronaldo was replaced by Rashford and unhappy with the decision. He walked off the pitch slowly, muttering to himself before throwing his coat to the floor and sitting on a concrete step by the substitutes’ bench.

"That is normal — a striker wants to score,” Rangnick told BT Sport.

“But he has come back from a little injury and it was important to remember we have got another game coming up.

In the post-match press conference, Rangnick added: “The only reaction I got was, ‘Why me? Why did you take me off?’

“I said to him ‘Listen, I had to take the decision in the interest of the team and the club. We had exactly the same situation five days ago at Villa Park, being 2-0 up with 15 minutes to play and we didn't want to make the same mistake again’.

“I decided to switch to a back five with Harry Maguire and bring on Marcus (Rashford) as another fast winger on the right hand side. I think it was the right decision.

“Cristiano was not happy. He is a goalscorer. He would have wished to stay on and maybe score a goal himself but for us it was more important to be compact, to make sure that we have enough legs and also strong headers to defend their set pieces.

“When we had scored the third goal, I said exactly that to him. I said, ‘Look, Cristiano, I understand you are still ambitious, you want to score yourself but maybe in a couple of years when you’re a head coach yourself, you will hopefully make the same decision and be in the same role I was in today after 75 minutes’.”

Rangnick also clarified that he has “no issues” with the Portugal international.

He added: “I didn't expect him to hug me after being substituted. I know how goalscoring players think and I had to make this decision. I have no issues with Cristiano. He was coming back from injury and hadn't played for one-and-a-half weeks. We had the likes of Rashford and Anthony Martial on the bench so why not use it? I would make the same decision again.”

The 36-year-old did not play in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa due to a hip flexor injury, the only time he has not started a Premier League game under Rangnick.

The head coach said: “I've been here now for six weeks and I've never had an issue with Cristiano. We had a discussion before the Villa cup game about his injury and we agreed not to use him.

“He was available again today and we decided to play him from the start. The most important thing is that we win games and this comes first.”

Ronaldo has scored 14 goals in all competitions since rejoining the club this summer after 12 years away.

United sit seventh in the league, two points off the top four and level on points with Arsenal in sixth but the north London side have a game in hand.

‘Why did you take me off?’: Rangnick explains decision to sub Ronaldo in Man Utd’s win vs Brentford - The Athletic View Story

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