Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Rangnick puts Man Utd before Ronaldo in flashpoint explanation; makes odd Anthony Elanga blunder

Man Utd manager Ralf Rangnick embracing Cristiano Ronaldo

Ralf Rangnick explained the team-first reasons why Cristiano Ronaldo was substituted against Brentford, and made a surprise Anthony Elanga faux pas in his interview.

Man Utd produced a much-improved second half display that catapulted them towards a critical 3-1 victory over Brentford. Anthony Elanga was the catalyst for the victory with his pressure-releasing goal a truly memorable one.

Mason Greenwood finished off a superb move involving Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes to double the lead.

Rangnick then shuffled his pack and protected his assets when substituting Greenwood and Ronaldo – much to the Portuguese’s disbelief.

Nonetheless, substitute Marcus Rashford quickly justified the decision when scoring a confidence-boosting strike as United left Brentford with all three points.

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Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Rangnick said initially of his half-time team-talk: “It was not a strong conversation, but obviously we had to change a few things.

“First half was not good in all aspects of the game. In the second half we were more urgent, attacking higher up the pitch and taking the right decisions in the counter attack and we scored, which is the big difference.

“Anthony Elanga followed up on the performance he showed at Villa Park. He was outstanding in the second half, put in a lot of work against the ball and then scoring the first goal.

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“But I am happy for all our young players tonight – three young English goalscorers.” (Author’s note: Elanga is Swedish and currently plays for Sweden’s U21s).

On the performance of the once again outstanding David de Gea, Rangnick said: “He’s been doing that the last couple of weeks – brilliant saves in first half. He is one of the best keepers in the world, I would say.”

Rangnick explains decision that irked Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo and Mason Greenwood were taken off in a double substitution with 20 minutes remaining. Ronaldo was visibly irked by the change, first throwing his jacket to the floor before shaking his head. Moments later, Ronaldo was seen questioning to his teammates why it was him that was selected to be taken off.

However, substitute Marcus Rashford quickly got his name on the scoresheet, and Rangnick was quickly seen having a quiet word with Ronaldo who looked rather more content with the three points now secure.

On Cristiano Ronaldo’s reaction to being substituted, Rangnick said: “That is normal – a striker wants to score – but he has come back from a little injury and it was important to remember we have got another game coming up.

“Also after what happened at Villa Park, we had to defend the lead this time and it was important that we went back to a back five and while we didn’t keep the clean sheet it was important to make sure nothing else happened.”

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Elanga loving life under Rangnick

Manchester United goal scorer Anthony Elanga also spoke to the press, telling BT Sport: “Second half we played our best football. We really stepped it up.

“The first goal lifted the team, then the second and third goal came and it got better.

On his superb goal and his blossoming role under Ralf Rangnick, the Swede added: “The first touch set it up. I could see the keeper coming and I just had to head it in

“I want to continue to work hard and get more goals.

“I appreciate the boss so much. You can see the intensity we put in in training and if you put in the work in training you get the results you deserve.”

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