Cristiano Ronaldo was the main topic of conversation following Manchester United’s 3-2 victory over Tottenham, as Ralf Rangnick, Paul Pogba, Antonio Conte and Hugo Lloris shared their thoughts.
Below is live reaction from Manchester after Man United vs Tottenham, as the Red Devils leapfrogged Arsenal for 4th place and dealt Tottenham a heavy blow to their own chances…
Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick, on his team’s fight against Tottenham…
“Coming back after two goals showed we had the right mentality. We deserved to win. The performance was aggressive enough at least. We showed the desire to win that game. I said before the game, the team who wants it more will be successful.
“I thought we were really good in the first half. We just allowed them moments when they got into our penalty box too easily. Without Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay, it wasn’t easy. It’s a big victory. We had to win today in order to stay in competition for fourth place. It’ll also give us a big boost for the game on Tuesday.”
Ralf Rangnick, on Cristiano Ronaldo’s three goals and his performance…
“Today, it was his best performance, at least since I arrived. Fantastic performance by him, but also by the rest of the team.
“He can do it [get 70,000 people off their feet], but again he can also do it only with the team. A fantastic performance. He was also energetic today. He was part of the whole team when we had to defend, because we had to defend a lot. It was a top performance by him, but also by the rest of the team.
“I didn’t expect him to score three goals, but I expected him to score. That’s why I decided to play him. His training session was so good on Thursday that I decided to start him and not bring him from the bench. I spoke to him before training on Friday and he said his hip flexor was good enough to play.”
“It’s a challenge with a player like Ronaldo, but he showed today that he still has the quality to play for a club like Manchester United. He also has the quality to be part of the team, and if we want to be successful at the end of the season that’s what we need.”
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, on what Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance meant…
“Ronaldo was brilliant. I think that’s all we needed — a reaction. We scored beautiful goals. Even when we conceded a goal, we came back and scored again. The mentality was there again today.
“Everybody knows Cristiano — there’s no need to talk about him. That’s what he does. He didn’t play in the last game, but he comes back and scores three goals. Everybody’s happy.
“It was good today. You can hear the fans — they were pushing us and feeling it. I think today was a very good performance as a team and a very good reaction from the City game.
“We kept believing. In the second half, we didn’t get the nice passing, and the movement, I think, wasn’t there. We gave them a bit of confidence, that’s why they scored. But we got a corner and scored the winning goal.”
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte, on the tough nature of defeat…
“It’s difficult to explain this loss. I think we didn’t deserve to lose, but at the same time we need to understand how we can improve.
“We had a good game, but we have to show more experience to manage certain situations. There are many parts in a game and sometimes you need to understand when to push, to go strong, to increase the intensity or when to be calm and not hurry. In that aspect, we have a lot of space for improvement. On the pitch we’ve had a great improvement.
“You can’t buy experience. You also improve your experience after this type of game. We have many young players in the team and hopefully after this game, they have the possibility to learn.
“We were at 1-1, then after one or two minutes they scored the second goal. We’re conceding a lot from set-pieces in this period. We know we need to improve if we want to reach the level we need to be competitive for the top places.”
Antonio Conte, on Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance…
“We’re talking about a player who not only tonight showed he is a top, top player. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the two best players in the world in this era. When you play against this type of player, they’re decisive. Without Cristiano Ronaldo, for United it wouldn’t have been a good night.”
Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, on Tottenham’s strong performance in defeat…
“I think we had a good team performance, even if we can do better with the goals we conceded. We know at this level it’s all about details. Cristiano Ronaldo also helped a lot today to get United the result.
“It’s painful, because we feel we deserve better. But, in football, you always get what you deserve and we now need to focus on next week.
“I think [Ronaldo] was at his best, very aggressive in the box. It’s difficult to control him, but when you concede set-pieces, you need to look for that. The second goal is from a cross and we could have defended it a bit better. For the first goal, when you give him a little bit of space, he can do what he did.
“We saw a lot of positive things from us, which is very frustrating. We knew this game was really important for the top-four race, but we won’t give up and we’ll continue to try to get better.
“If you talk about the result, obviously it’s negative. We need to analyze and try again to improve certain aspects of our game. Now the game is done and we can only manage the games ahead of us.”