Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick has said Cristiano Ronaldo‘s reaction to being substituted during the 3-1 win over Brentford as “normal” despite the striker being visibly angered as he came off.
Ronaldo was replaced for defender Harry Maguire on 71 minutes as Rangnick switched to a back three to protect United’s lead at the Brentford Community Stadium on Wednesday.
Television cameras picked up Ronaldo throwing down his coat after coming off the pitch, as well as Rangnick having a conversation with the 36-year-old shortly. Marcus Rashford put the side 3-0 shortly after.
“That is normal — a striker wants to score — but he has come back from a little injury and it was important to remember we have got another game coming up,” Rangnick told BT Sport said after the match.
“Also after what happened at Villa Park, we had to defend the lead this time and it was important that we went back to a back five and while we didn’t keep the clean sheet it was important to make sure nothing else happened.”
Ronaldo was visibly upset after being subbed off 😤
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In his post-match news conference, Rangnick said he explained to Ronaldo why he had taken the decision to substitute him.
“He was asking why me, and I said listen I have to take the decision in the interest of the team and we had exactly the same situation at Villa Park being 2-0 up with 15 minutes to play and we didn’t want to make the same mistake again,” Rangnick said.
“I decided to switch to a back five and bring on Marcus on the right and I think it was the right decision.
“He’s a goal scorer he wanted to stay on and score but for us it was more important for us to be compact.
“When we scored the third I said that to him and I said maybe when you’re a head coach yourself you will hopefully make the same decision.
“I didn’t expect him to hug me after being subbed, l know how goal scoring players think and how they tick but I have to take my decisions in the interest of the team.
“I have no issue whatsoever with Cristiano, he came back from an injury and didn’t train for one and a half weeks. Why should I not make use of the players on the bench?”
The result moves United to within two points of fourth-place West Ham United, who visit Old Trafford on Saturday.
Brentford manager Thomas Frank branded Rangnick’s team “unbelievably lucky” after goalkeeper David De Gea was forced to make a number of saves during a first half which was dominated by the home side.
“We are the smallest club in the Premier League, Manchester United the biggest,” Frank told BT Sport.
“We destroyed them in the first half, they didn’t have a sniff, three huge chances and there could only have been one winner of this game. They are unbelievably lucky.
“One of those nights, fair play to David de Gea, if we get those chances again one will go in the back of the net. The way we smashed them in the first half was fantastic, so proud of my team.”