Ralf Rangnick pulls no Cristiano Ronaldo-rated punches amid Erik ten Hag

Doubts have often been raised about Ronaldo’s ability to adapt to a high-pressing style that new manager Erik ten Hag is expected to adopt at Manchester United

Ralf Rangnick gave an open record of Cristiano Ronaldo's season
Ralf Rangnick gave an open record of Cristiano Ronaldo’s season

Outgoing Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick has been uncompromising in his assessment of Cristiano Ronaldo’s suitability to play under Erik ten Hag.

Ten Hag will take over after Sunday’s trip to Crystal Palace after a dismal season for the Red Devils at Old Trafford. Rangnick’s arrival did nothing to turn their fortunes as United missed out on qualifying for next year’s Champions League.

While there’s one more game to play this semester, attention has already turned to what changes Ten Hag will be making. One of the biggest changes is expected to come with the team’s playstyle.

The new United boss is known for a powerful game which he successfully used at Ajax. But there were questions about how well Ronaldo would fit into a team that uses pressing as its founding philosophy, as would be the case under Ten Hag.

And the German has now given his candid assessment of Ronaldo’s performance this season. He highlighted the Portuguese superstar’s goal record but admitted he wasn’t cut out for a high-pressing team.

“I agree that we never came close to that aggressive, proactive football. It has to do with physicality, if we want to play like that. I’m more than self-critical. I should have done better. My coaching staff could have developed this team more sustainably,” said Rangnick in his final press conference as United coach.

There are doubts that Ronaldo will be able to adapt to new coach Erik ten Hag’s style of play


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“We couldn’t do that and it’s not just the players who should be blamed, but ourselves. I’m the one who’s the most disappointed and frustrated about that. At some point we just had to find compromises – attack a little bit deeper, how can we make sure that we get our offensive players into their positions?

“Cristiano scored a couple of goals, but again Cristiano – and I don’t blame him at all, he’s played great in those games – but he’s not a pressing monster. He’s not a player – even as a young player – who cried , shouted ‘Hooray, the other team has the ball, where can we win balls?’

“And that goes for some other players too, so at some point we had to make compromises, maybe we made a few too many – that’s possible too. We never found the right balance between what we need on and off the ball. Even with possession, we didn’t create as many chances as we should have.”

Rangnick will lead United for the final time at Selhurst Park on Sunday afternoon, with his side needing a win to secure their place in the top six. However, he will have to get those crucial three points without Ronaldo, as the attacker was ruled out of the game through injury.

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