Former Bayern Munich midfielder, Owen Hargreaves has urged Manchester United’s younger players to listen to Cristiano Ronaldo.
He said if the players failed to listen to their superstar teammate, the results would get worse and the team would finish outside the top four in the league table.
Hargreaves, who played some seasons for Manchester United, wants the players to take ‘ownership’ as he fears the club will miss out on a top-four position.
A 1-0 loss to Wolves in their last outing in the Premier League means that the Red Devils are now six points behind fourth-placed West Ham and in seventh position in the league table.
Ronaldo told Sky Sports during the week that the players just have to wake up and fight for a better position in the league rather than aim at finishing fourth place.
Ronaldo has been left ‘baffled’ by his team-mates’ attitude towards training and their reluctance to do extra gym work, and the Portuguese suggested that his younger teammates at United don’t listen to advice or seek his mentorship.
And Hargreaves, Ronaldo’s former team-mate at United, understands why the former Real.Madrid and Juventus star may be frustrated.
“Cristiano doesn’t have time, he’s 36. He came here to help United get over the line, they finished second last year,” Hargreaves told Premier League Productions.
“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.
“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,” he added.
Hargreaves feels Ronaldo has taken on the responsibility of being United’s ’emotional leader’, something he never signed up for when he returned from Juventus last summer.
He 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.
“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.
“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.”
Manchester United’s next task is a Premier League game against Aston Villa this weekend. Arsenal legend, Paul Merson had already predicted that the Red Devils would be beaten by Steven Gerrard’s side.