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Champions League

‘Rio comments on things he doesn’t know!’ – Solskjaer hits back at Ferdinand over Ronaldo jibe

The two former team-mates traded words over the Portugal star’s placement on the touchline during a Champions League tie at Young Boys

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brushed off Rio Ferdinand’s speculation that Cristiano Ronaldo was running the team from the sidelines during Tuesday’s defeat to Young Boys.

Ronaldo’s goal at Young Boys wasn’t enough in United’s Champions League opener, as the 10-man Reds went down to a surprise defeat in Switzerland. 

The striker was pulled off during the second half but retained a vocal presence on the touchline, to Ferdinand’s concern. 

What was said? 

“If I’m the manager, I’ve got to be honest, I’m telling him to sit down,” former United and England defender Ferdinand told BT Sport during the broadcast.

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“I get it. You know, with Cristiano people go, ‘Oh it’s bravado, it’s for the fans’. He’s just a passionate guy. He wants to win, he’s desperate to win, and he can’t hold it in.

“If that means he has to go up there and stand next to the manager, shouting instructions etc etc, so be it. When it’s someone of his standing and stature in the game how can you argue with it?”

Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United

Solskjaer, though, insisted that Ferdinand’s interpretation of events was misguided.

“Rio, again, sometimes he comments on things he doesn’t really know,” he said of his former team-mate at Old Trafford.

“It should have been a yellow card for Martins Pereira when he brought down Nemanja Matic. Both Bruno [Fernandes] and Cristiano, as competitive as they are, suddenly I had them on my shoulder.

“They were there for a brief spell and shouted to the referee. That was the aggravation of getting a few bad decisions against us. But then Cristiano sat down, Bruno sat down. We know only one man is allowed in that technical area and that’s either me or Carras [Michael Carrick], Mick [Phelan] or Kieran [McKenna].

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“It was just spur of the moment, he should have been sent off, so I don’t have any problem with them showing some passion and then going back down. It’s not like he [Ronaldo] was coaching the players, no.”

United’s next outing

The Reds have the chance to atone for their slip midweek in Sunday’s Premier League clash away to West Ham. 

Victory would restore their share of the lead alongside Liverpool, who moved three points clear of both Manchester United and City with a comfortable defeat of Crystal Palace on Saturday. 

Solskjaer’s next European test, meanwhile, is set for September 29, when Villarreal visit Old Trafford.

Further reading 

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