Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man Utd back on track but grumpy Ronaldo mars win



Man Utd back on track but grumpy Ronaldo mars win

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford (left) celebrates scoring his team’s third goal with midfielder Bruno Fernandes (centre) and midfielder Scott McTominay during the English Premier League football match against Brentford on Wednesday. AFP

Man Utd back on track but grumpy Ronaldo mars win

Ralf Rangnick defended Cristiano Ronaldo after the Manchester United star’s petulant reaction to his substitution cast a shadow over their 3-1 win at Brentford on Wednesday.

Rangnick’s side were indebted to David de Gea for a superb first-half display that kept Brentford at bay before United finally sprang to life in west London.

Anthony Elanga put United in front early in the second half before Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford wrapped up their first win in three Premier League games.

But it was Ronaldo’s grumpy response to Rangnick’s decision to haul him off in the 71st minute that could prove the evening’s lasting image.

Shaking his head and muttering to himself, Ronaldo appeared to say something to Rangnick as he brushed past him.

Angrily throwing his coat to the floor, Ronaldo pointed at his chest while his team-mates on the bench nervously looked away.

Rangnick initially ignored Ronaldo before sitting next to him and patting the Portugal forward on the leg as he attempted to placate him.

The 36-year-old’s strop will raise fresh questions about his willingness to fit into Rangnick’s system after his latest underwhelming display.

However, Rangnick refused to criticise Ronaldo when asked about his behaviour.

“It’s normal, he’s a striker and wants to score goals. He came back from a little injury and for me it is important to bear in mind we have another game in a few days’ time,” Rangnick said.

“We were 2-0 up, the same as at Aston Villa. I decided to defend that lead this time and it was the right decision to switch to a back five.”

United at least avoided another embarrassing result after losing at home to Wolves and letting a two-goal lead slip in a draw at Aston Villa in their previous two league games.

They sit seventh in the table, two points adrift of the top four as they chase qualification for next season’s Champions League.

“I wouldn’t say a strong conversation but obviously we had to change a few things; first half we were not good in all aspects of the game,” Rangnick said of his half-time message to his players.

“We gave away almost every second ball. In the second half we were more urgent, we were attacking them high up the pitch.”

United revival

Ronaldo, back after missing two matches with a hip problem, was nearly gifted an early goal when debutant keeper Jonas Lossl dropped a cross at the forward’s feet, but the Bees were able to scramble clear.

Thomas Frank’s fired-up team went close through Bryan Mbeumo, whose low shot forced a save from De Gea.

Brentford were well on top and Mads Bech Sorensen saw his strike deflected into the side-netting off Bruno Fernandes.

Ivan Toney tore through United’s defence, setting up Mathias Jensen for a shot that was well saved by De Gea.

United could not have been any worse in the opening period, yet they played with urgency after the interval.

Ronaldo nearly gave them the lead when he met Fernandes’ cross with a looping header onto the bar.

It was a warning Brentford failed to heed and, after Toney headed straight at De Gea, Swedish teenager Elanga made the hosts pay for their profligacy in the 55th minute.

Fred clipped a pass into the Brentford area and Elanga knocked the ball up in the air before heading past Lossl from close range.

Elanga’s first goal this season changed the mood completely and United struck again in the 62nd minute.

With Brentford appealing in vain for offside, Fernandes surged onto Ronaldo’s chest down and slipped a pass to Greenwood, who slotted into the empty net for his first goal in seven games.

After Ronaldo’s temper tantrum, it must have been a relief to Rangnick that Rashford, on as a substitute, notched United’s third goal with a fine finish from Fernandes’ pass in the 77th minute.

Toney scored from close range on 85 minutes but it far too late for Brentford.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio