Rangnick told Ronaldo he withdrew him ‘in the interests’ of Manchester United

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  • Portuguese substituted in United’s 3-1 win at Brentford

  • ‘I didn’t want to make same mistake as at Aston Villa’


Ralf Rangnick was forced to explain to Cristiano Ronaldo why he was substituted after the forward questioned his decision during Manchester United’s 3-1 win at Brentford that Thomas Frank claimed was “unbelievably lucky”.

While the visitors were uneven before the break, they scored three times in the second half, through Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford before Ivan Toney got a late goal back for Frank’s side.

Related: Anthony Elanga puts Manchester United on path to win at Brentford

Ronaldo was taken off when United were 2-0 up and the 36-year-old was visibly unhappy when sitting next to Rangnick. The interim manager was asked what was said between the two.

“He asked:‘Why me, why have you taken me off?’” Rangnick said. “I told him: ‘I have to make decisions in the interests of the team and club. We had the same situation at Aston Villa [on Saturday] when we were 2-0 up in the second half and I didn’t want to make the same mistake [drawing 2-2].’

“So tonight I put on Harry Maguire, went to a back three, and a fast winger, Marcus Rashford. It was the right decision. Cristiano is a goalscorer but it was more important to be compact at this moment. When we scored a third I said this exactly to him: ‘I know you’re ambitious to score but maybe in two years’ time when you are a head coach like me and in the same position you’ll understand.’”

Rangnick was asked if he might speak to the striker again about the incident. “I didn’t expect him to hug me after being substituted,” said the 63-year-old. “I have no issues whatsoever with Cristiano. I’ve been here six weeks and never had any issue with him – none whatsoever.”

The win took United to 35 points, two behind West Ham in the final Champions League berth, having played a game less, although Spurs and Arsenal are in between.

Yet Frank, whose side dominated the first half, stated United were fortunate. “I am unbelievably proud of my team,” he said. “We are the smallest club in the Premier League, Manchester United the biggest: 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.

“Our intensity killed them, we showed that in the first half, we played the Brentford way. If you look at the 90 minutes, there could only be one winner – we had six chances in the first half, its a miracle we did not score.”

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