When his number seven appeared on the substitution list, Cristiano Ronaldo had a face like thunder.
He shuffled in slow motion, spreading his arms in desperation toward Ralf Rangnick and then hurling his jacket to the floor.
The old Galactico just played a great supporting role in Manchester United’s second goal against Brentford.
But perhaps Ronaldo’s most valuable work was done in a television interview in which he suggested that United’s younger players need to listen, learn, grow and play. with pride.
Because three United academy products – Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford – orchestrated a game they had threatened to lose in a dismal first half.
And a quarter of United, Scott McTominay, was the one to turn the tables with a dominant performance in the second half.
The final scoreline was deceiving because United had to survive a bombardment from Brentford before they finally became comfortable winners.
Ronaldo’s little tantrum, when United took a 2-0 lead, suggests that his TV interview included an element of ‘do as I say, not as I do’.
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But there is a feeling that his words may have left some of the less experienced players throbbing and motivated.
United are still seventh but are now just two points behind Champions League spots.
Ronaldo has rightly stated that he has not returned to Old Trafford to compete for fourth place – but the team are starting off low and this kind of victory, once the club’s custom, may eventually be. considered a turning point.
This is United’s first time facing Brentford in the League since before the Old King’s death – and there’s a Champions League atmosphere around the place, Kew Bridge has never seen many ticket offers come like that.
Ronaldo’s return from injury-ridden two games out of the box adds strength but the name United still holds a unique charm – even if it’s a reality watching them that rarely happens. .
Brentford has beaten Arsenal, made a big draw with Liverpool and dominated Chelsea here – so despite four defeats in five games for Thomas Frank’s side, there is real hope for the team. host.
Denmark’s West London neighborhood could soon welcome Christian Eriksen’s emotional return to elite football, following his cardiac arrest at the Euros.
And if he does tweak this, he’ll be impressed with Brentford’s first-half performance – even if players may wonder where exactly he might fit in a live side like so.
United were immediately driven – long-throw merchant Mads Bech Sorensen caused an early warning.
And soon Brentford created four clear scoring opportunities in the space of two minutes.
A stray McTominay pass gave Rangnick’s men a hard time and Mathias Jensen was cleverly saved by David De Gea.
As the bees are forced to face a string of corners, there is an atmosphere of imminent doom for United – a forecast as frequent as rainfall in their hometown these days.
Vitaly Janelt had a shot wide, so did Sorensen, and then Christian Norgaard had a shot from close range.
United were kicking – and when Brentford broke through from a United corner, Ivan Toney passed to Jensen, who was denied again by De Gea as he had to take a corner.
During that first half we saw all the hallmarks of what United are now – loose passing, lack of desire to win in the 50-50 half, nervousness whenever in defence, lack of target in attack.
But after the break, they looked at another angle – Ronaldo soon headed the ball over the crossbar from the center of Bruno Fernandes’ goal.
From the corner, Brentford sped up and Jensen had another good chance, shooting straight into De Gea.
However, United began to impose themselves before they scored in the 55th minute.
Fred made a cute cross ball into the Brentford penalty box and Elanga escaped his marker, Mads Roerslev, cutting it himself to get past the bouncing Jonas Lossl, with a welcome improvisation.
Lossl hadn’t really been tested until then but he was clumsily quick to make a corner from a fierce McTominay drive.
The second goal, seven minutes after the first, was a gem of a team goal.
McTominay took control of the ball and passed the ball to Ronaldo in the center circle.
The Portuguese made a stunning chest pass in the first leg to free Fernandes, who darted forward and squared off for Greenwood to shoot into an empty net.
Not long after Ronaldo’s tackle, McTominay regained control of the ball, crossed the midfield and found Fernandes.
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The Portuguese gave Rashfiord – Ronaldo’s replacement – who rushed home in the near corner to justify Rangnick’s controversial substitution.
Toney tried to console him belatedly as United failed to clear the dangerous ball from a long throw.
But United came home and moved on after that – and Ronaldo did his job, with his words, instead of his actions.
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