Cristiano Ronaldo has insisted that he is not at Manchester United to compete for the 5th, 6th, or 7th spot on the Premier League table, adding that anything lower than the 3rd spot is not acceptable.
Recall that Cristiano Ronaldo who played for Manchester United between 2003 and 2009 returned to the Premier League club in August 2021 after spending 9 successful years at Real Madrid and three years at Juventus.
Before he arrived at Manchester United, the club finished second behind Manchester City last season. Hence, with his addition and that of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, pundits and fans of the club expected that the club would compete for the Premier League title from start to finish.
Unfortunately, the then coach of the club, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggled to find a suitable approach to utilize the players. Hence, the club dropped so many points that they dropped out of the top four.
The worst period at the club was in December during which the club suffered heavy defeats at the hands of Leicester, Liverpool, and Watford.
Due to the poor run of games, coach Solskjaer had to be sacked and was replaced by Ralf Rangnick in an interim capacity.
Under the reign of interim coach Rangnick, Manchester United have recorded four wins in seven Premier League games. The improved performance has pushed the club to the 7th spot with 31 points in 19 games.
They are currently 6 points away from 4th placed West Ham United with two games in hand. They are 22 points away from first-placed Manchester City.
Hence, the major task for a player like Cristiano Ronaldo this season is to help Manchester United break into the top four and remain there until the end of the season.
Ahead of Aston Villa vs Manchester United Premier League game scheduled to kick at 18:30 on Saturday, January 15, 2022, Cristiano Ronaldo said in an interview that Manchester United can only close the gap on their top-four rivals with the right mentality.
“I don’t accept that our mentality be less than being in the top three in the Premier League”, the 36-year-old 5 times Ballon d’Or winner 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 at our best level. But we have a long way to improve and I believe if we change our minds, we can achieve big things.”
Cristiano Ronaldo asks for more time for Ralf Rangnick
When Manchester United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and appointed Michael Carrick as caretaker manager before switching to Ralf Rangnick in an interim capacity, the expectation was high. Most fans of the club thought Rangnick would have a smooth run at the club.
Unfortunately, things have not been so easy for the German tactician. Hence, he has been under heavy criticism by some pundits and some fans.
But Cristiano Ronaldo believes that the German coach needs time to change the mentality of the club’s players and improve the fortunes of the club.
“Since he arrived five weeks ago he changed many things,” said Ronaldo. “But he needs time to put his ideas across to the players.
“It takes time but I believe that he is going to do a good job. We know we aren’t playing the best football but we have many games to improve.
“Since he arrived I think in some points we are better, but he needs time. It’s not that easy to change the mentality of players and the way they play, the culture, the system like that. I believe that he is going to do a good job.”
On how easy it was for the players to adapt to three different coaches in one season, Ronaldo noted: “Not easy to be honest. We changed Ole, then Carrick, then this new coach. It’s difficult when you change so much, it’s always tough.
“It’s always sad and tough. Ole used to play with me before and now he was the coach. A fantastic person. When he left everybody was sad, but it’s part of football.
“When things don’t go the way the club wants, the club has to change. I was disappointed but we have to understand the club. It was difficult but life continues.
“But 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.
“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.”
“I believe that he’s going to do a good job.”#MUFC‘s Cristiano Ronaldo says a change of manager at the club has been hard but that Ralf Rangnick needs to be given time to turn things around. 🔴⏰ pic.twitter.com/HEJmUV8OaA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 12, 2022