Owen Hargreaves sends warning to Ralf Rangnick after Cristiano Ronaldo's strop

Owen Hargreaves has urged Ralf Rangnick to be ‘careful’ after upsetting Cristiano Ronaldo in Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Brentford, saying there was ‘no need’ to make the substitution and he has to keep the forward ‘on side’.

David de Gea kept the scoreline goalless with a string of smart saves before a flurry of second-half goals from Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford put the visitors out of sight at the Brentford Community Stadium.

Ivan Toney netted in the 85th minute to give hosts Brentford the tiniest glimmer of hope, but United held firm to secure three morale-boosting points after two games without victory in the Premier League.

The Red Devils remain in seventh with the result, two points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham in what is becoming an intriguing battle for Champions League qualification.

Ronaldo’s reaction to being replaced in the 71st minute threatened to put a slight dampener on the occasion from United’s perspective, with the veteran Portuguese throwing a tantrum and petulantly making his feelings known.

Rangnick attempted to calm Ronaldo down and explained after the match that he made the decision ‘in the interests of the team’ and there were ‘no issues whatsoever’ between himself and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

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‘The only reaction I got was him asking me, “Why me, why did you take me off?”. I said to him, “Listen, I have to take the decision in the interests of the team and the club”,’ the United interim boss explained.

‘We had exactly the same situation five days ago at Villa Park. Being 2-0 up, 15 minutes to play. Of course, we didn’t want to make the same mistake again.

‘I decided to switch to a back five with Harry Maguire and bring on Marcus as another fast winger on the right side. I think it was the right decision.

‘But Cristiano was not happy. He’s a goalscorer, he would’ve wished to stay on and score a goal himself. But for us it was more important to be compact, to make sure we have enough legs and enough strong headers to defend their free kicks and set pieces.

‘When we scored the third goal I said exactly that to him. I said, “Look, Cristiano, I understand that you are still ambitious and you want to score yourself. Maybe in a couple of years when you are a head coach yourself and hopefully you’ll take the same decision, be in the same role that I was in today after 75 minutes”.

‘As I said, what I realised was exactly what happened. I didn’t expect him to hug me after being substituted. I know how goalscoring players think and how they tick but I have to take my decisions in the interest of the team and the club. This is exactly what I told him.

‘I have no issues with Cristiano. He’s come back from a little injury, he didn’t train for one-and-a-half weeks, being 2-0 up with 15 minutes to play, having players like Marcus and Anthony Martial on the bench, why should I not make use of that? That’s why I would always do it again in a situation like that.

’I’ve been here now for six weeks I’ve not had any kind of issue with Cristiano. We spoke before the Villa FA Cup game and before the league game he told me he had a little issue with his hip flexor and we agreed between the two of us it would be better to make sure he has no problems with that kind of injury any more, that’s why he was not part of the squad in those two games.

‘Today he was available again, that’s why I played him from the start. No issues whatsoever. For the future, it’s just important for any player that we win games, this is first.’

‘If he does anything really stupid and starts throwing bottles everywhere, then I suppose you have to say, “Hang on a minute”, but that is quite minor and I’d probably do what he did there and end of story.’

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