Cristiano Ronaldo has hinted that Manchester United’s younger stars struggle to take on criticism as the Red Devils look to improve under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.
United have inconsistent in recent weeks by drawing to Newcastle and losing at home to Wolves either side of New Year to lie seventh in the top-flight table, six points behind West Ham in fourth.
It has not been the season that Ronaldo hoped for when he completed his £19.3million move from Juventus last summer but the Portuguese forward believes United can ‘change the page’ this season if their younger stars listen to the experienced pros.
Cristiano Ronaldo has hinted that Man United’s younger players struggle to take criticism
Ronaldo (right) and United are enduring a tricky season, with interim boss Ralf Rangnick (left)
The 36-year-old did maintain that his criticism of young players does not relate solely to Manchester United’s players, but did mention that the club could face difficulties if young players do not ‘look in the mirror’.
‘The mature, older players can always help the young players,’ Ronaldo told Premier League Productions. ‘But, I can give you an example: if I give you advice, even if you are younger than me and if you don’t implant that in a daily life it will be difficult.
‘I remember when I was 18, 19, 20, some older players speak with me and I put that as, “Cristiano, you know you have to improve. They know more than you, they are more experienced than you.” They passed through many bad moments.
Ronaldo (second right) has urged his younger players to ‘turn the page’ in their season
‘But the (younger players), they don’t accept that if you criticise them. I don’t say this in relation to our players but in general. I have kids, I know. Sometimes when you’re a little bit harder, they do the opposite, you have to find the right balance to speak with them.
‘But in my opinion, the main point is it should come from inside you. You should be proud of yourself, look in the mirror and say: “Listen, I gave everything. And I think all of us should do that. Because it’s a new year, we change the page, we have many things to win, we have to believe on that, if not it will be a nightmare.”
‘The individual is the most important thing. We are here to help when they need my help, my support, my advice, I will be the number one to help but if you don’t want my help, do your job, look for yourself and do your best to help the team.’
Ronaldo says ‘the individual is the important thing’ as he looks to give advice to youngsters
United are currently 22 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City so are highly unlikely to mount a title challenge in the second half of the season, but they could achieve more success in the cup competitions.
Rangnick’s side reached the fourth round of the FA Cup last week by beating Aston Villa 1-0 at Old Trafford, while United also have a Champions League last-16 clash against Atletico Madrid.
The Red Devils’ next league game is a trip to Villa, with United hoping to close the gap on their top-four rivals Arsenal, West Ham and Tottenham.