Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken very honestly about Manchester United and their struggles this season, as the superstar has called for the Red Devils to change their mentality.
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Ronaldo, 36, is United’s top goalscorer this season with 14 goals in all competitions, but he has struggled in recent weeks as interim coach Ralf Rangnick oversees a big change in their playing style.
United sit seventh in the Premier League table, six points off the top four but they have two games in-hand over fourth-place West Ham. Despite their recent poor displays they are still in the hunt to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. That said, United are currently 22 points behind leaders Manchester City, a huge gap.
The Portuguese forward (who captained United against Wolves last time out in the league) hasn’t spoken to the media much since he returned to the Premier League, so his thoughts on the current situation at Old Trafford were intriguing.
Manchester United ‘can do better’
“I don’t accept that our mentality be less than being in the top three in the Premier League,” Ronaldo said. “I think to build up good things, sometimes you have to destroy a few things. So why not – new year, new life and I hope that Manchester (United) can be the level that the fans want. They deserve that.
“We are capable of changing things now. I know the way but I’m not going to mention it here because I don’t think it’s ethical on my part to say that. What I can say is we can do better – all of us. Manchester (United) belongs to important things, so we have to change that. I don’t want to be here to be in sixth place, or seventh place, or fifth place. I’m here to try to win, to compete. I think we compete but we are not yet in our best level. But we have a long way to improve and I believe if we change our mind, we can achieve big things.”
Ronaldo admitted it was tough to see Solskjaer fired, and it has been tough to grasp Rangnick’s new ideas quickly too, but he believes they can still win trophies and finish in the top four this season.
United are in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup fourth round, and if they tighten up defensively they have plenty of star power in attack to hurt opponents.
“I still believe that we are capable of doing a good season. We know it’s going to take time to make the ideas of the new coach on the pitch,” Ronaldo said. “But I’m looking forward. We have to work hard, we have to be together as players. We know we are not in the best moment, but I believe with working hard we can achieve important things, even this year.”
Will these comments help?
Many are pointing towards Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford as one of the main problems behind their poor form this season.
Is that too simplistic?
Without his late heroics they would be worse off, but his arrival in the summer seem to shift the power away from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and towards the players, and that eventually cost Ole his job. It also shifted the playing style away from being a counter-attacking team to a slower-paced team who are easier to defend against.
Ronaldo and some of United’s other forward players seem to be struggling to adapt to Rangnick’s 4-2-2-2 system, but these comments were needed from the legendary forward. Harry Maguire and others have been lambasted for coming out into the media and saying the same things over and over again.
Now that Ronaldo has come out and demanded more, perhaps United’s underperforming squad will finally snap out of their funk.