Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo questions young players' reaction to criticism

Scott Saunders
Cristiano Ronaldo might have just sent a message to his United teammates
Cristiano Ronaldo might have just sent a message to his United teammates / Gareth Copley/GettyImages
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Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo has suggested modern young players "don't accept criticism" amid the club's struggles so far this season.

United are currently seventh in the Premier League, far off where they were expected to be when Ronaldo arrived in the summer, and have struggled to perform for the entire campaign.

Poor performances and results inevitably led to the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but interim boss Ralf Rangnick has so far failed to get the best out of the squad at his disposal too. It's meant the attention of fans has directed towards the current squad - with massive concerns over effort levels and application in matches.

Ronaldo, speaking to Premier League Productions, admitted that he finds the players of today need to take ownership of their own performances - though he did suggest that he was not talking about his United teammates.

"The mature players, the older players can always help the young players," Ronaldo said. "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.

"You can speak all day with that person. If he's not coming from inside of you it's impossible. I remember when I was 18, 19, 20, some old 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.

"But the other people [youngsters], 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."

Ronaldo famously came into a squad of seasoned and successful professionals when he joined United in 2003, and bad habits were even kicked out of him in training, as former teammates have attested. But Ronaldo thinks the world has changed.

"In my opinion, the main point is it should come from inside you," he continued. "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.

“We have to have the right mentality. I look to myself and I say 'Cristiano, what can you do better to improve your level to help the team? Yes, I can improve other things'. Maybe to sprint for 90 minutes, if something happens, to help your teammate if they are suffering or are tired, the small details during the game, to be smart, to be intelligent.

"All the games are different, all the players are different, the systems, the stadiums so you have to be capable and ready when you suffer, when you struggle in a game, to be compact, to want for your teammates and be a team.

"For me, this is why they call this team Manchester 'United'. So we have to be united in the difficult moments."

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