Owen Hargreaves backs Manchester United star for criticising the mentality of younger players at Manchester United

Owen Hargreaves has backed Cristiano Ronaldo, following his recent comments about Manchester United.

Ronaldo granted two separate interviews to week, where he touched on United-related subjects, including interim coach, Ralf Rangnick.

Rangnick has been slated by a section of the fans and pundits since his arrival, as United continue to struggle to adapt to life under him.

But Ronaldo is adamant the German has done relatively well since his appointment, as he claimed that he would do even better if given more time.

He said: “He arrived five weeks ago, he changed many things, but he needs time to put his ideas to the players and on the pitch as well. It takes time.

“But I believe that he is going to do a good job. We knew that we don’t play the best football as we should do, but we have many games to improve.

“Since he arrived in some points we are better, but as I said before, you need time. It’s not that easy to change the mentality of players, the way they play, the system and the culture.

“So I believe that he is going to do a good job.”

In another interview, Ronaldo also suggested that the younger players at Manchester United were not open to advice, as he also questioned their mentality. And Hargreaves seems to agree with the 36 year old.

Speaking recently to Premier League Productions, Hargreaves said: “Cristiano doesn’t have time, he’s 36. He came here to help United get over the line, they finished second last year.

“He was the final piece of the puzzle really to help them mentor these young guys. Whether they’re taking on his mentorship or not, it doesn’t look like it.

“He wants to help this group of players get over the line, they’ve stumbled into semi-finals and the Europa League final last year… really with Ronaldo and [Raphael] Varane and the leaders they have in that side, they should be in a better position than they are.

“Ronaldo is trying to effect change. A lot of managers have been through there and come out not in a great way. Everybody blamed Ole and now Ralf’s getting it, but the players need to take some ownership for it.

“There’s things coming out of the camp with players not being happy… with what?! You play for one of the greatest football teams in the world, the fans there are so loyal and supportive, the club have invested so much money in these players.

“It’s a blessing to play for that football club, but you have to go out there and show it in every game. When you watch them sometimes you think, ‘Surely there’s more in there’, and I think that’s what Cristiano sees. He knows what it is like, he’s been there and done it and at 36 he shouldn’t have to tell the guys to do a bit more.”

Hargreaves added: “When Cristiano came to United he had incredible mentors in Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, Edwin van der Sar and the list goes on forever. They took him under their wing and said: ‘These are the standards, Cristiano, you’ve got all the time in the world, but this is what it takes.’

“He was the best footballer I’ve ever seen, the most talented, but he was also the best pro. He probably looks at these young guys and they’re super talented, but you’ve got to put the work in. Cristiano shouldn’t be outworking all these young guys.

“I was at the games against Manchester City and Liverpool and he put in two challenges towards the end of the game where they were quite naughty. That was deliberate because he was saying to the rest of the team: ‘Guys, you’ve got to compete, this is what it’s about. We’re getting smashed up here and nobody is really showing a reaction!’

“The greatest player arguably to ever play the game is doing the work for some of the other players. He’s almost having to be an emotional leader and he shouldn’t be that.”

Hargreaves also warned the Red Devils they will finish outside of the top four unless they get it together soon.

“Everybody should do their job, give him the ball. What they should do is make the pitch a lot smaller because Ralf spoke about having control in games. They haven’t had control in any of the games I’ve seen,” the ex-United and England midfielder went on.

“Play in one half like they did against Palace, make the distances a lot smaller so they can press, get crosses in for Cristiano and they’ll be okay.

“But the way they’re playing now I don’t see them getting in the top four.”