Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has insisted he has no problem with Cristiano Ronaldo speaking out against the team's current struggles and urged the rest of his senior players to follow suit.
In a tell-all interview, Ronaldo recently discussed his disappointment towards recent results and, among other things, claimed that young players - without referencing United's players directly -are not prepared to react to criticism or harsh advice from veteran players.
When quizzed about the comments, Rangnick insisted he would have done a similar thing to Ronaldo and urged the rest of the squad to speak their minds in an attempt to improve the atmosphere at Old Trafford.
“We have so many top, talented players and it brings me back to what Cristiano said – we have to work and develop as a team together and if it’s necessary to speak in a very direct manner to the boys, it helps a lot, even in the locker room,” Rangnick said.
"If Cristiano, for example, or any of the other players address that to the players directly on the pitch or in the dressing room they are more than welcome to do that.
“I will do that myself as a coach – and my coaching staff in the pre-and-post match video – but we can only develop individual players if we develop the performances of the team. It’s not only Cristiano, we have Edinson [Cavani], we have Harry [Maguire], we have quite a few other older players, David de Gea in goal, Victor Lindelof, Bruno [Fernandes].
“We have enough experienced older players who can not only be role models in training, on the pitch and in games, but also in all those conversations that happen in the locker room or when they are together in the hotel for away games or home games.
"This has to happen. In a united team, that happens automatically and I can only invite and challenge and tell all the players, also the older players, to do that on a regular basis because that helps even more so in a team that we have currently.”
On Ronaldo's criticism of youngsters, Rangnick admitted that there needs to be a shift in mentality from everyone at the club if they are to return to the top of the mountain.
“I think this has to happen in every single training session and in every single game and, of course, it’s also about what happens after situations during the game,” Rangnick said.
“If things don’t go the right way you have to behave in a certain manner. It’s also about being role models – not only the older ones like Cristiano but also the younger ones and how you deal with those situations. In the end it’s a team sport … where we have to play together and the older players and the young players have to play as a team and have to be united on the pitch.”