Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan, has revealed how Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘tougher mindset’ caused friction among the squad.
KemiFilani recalls that the Portugal international made a surprise return to Man United in August 2021.
He went on to net 24 goals in his first season back at Old Trafford.
The 38-year-old cut a frustrated figure in his second season at United following the appointment of Erik ten Hag as United boss.
The former Real Madrid ace then granted a bombshell interview in which he slammed his manager, the Red Devils’ hierarchy as well as his fellow players.
That led to the termination of his contract which paved the way for his move to Saudi Arabia.
Phelan worked with Ronaldo during both of his spells at United.
He said that the former Juventus goal machine was frustrated over his failed push to galvanise certain members of the squad before his departure.
“The second time round, he came in a lot older and a lot more opinionated, strong-willed,” Phelan told Sky Sports.
“He still had massively high standards and was terrific to work with. But I’d probably say a tougher mindset. He had been at Man United, he had been Portugal’s ever-present, he had been at Madrid.
“I liked it because he didn’t want his standards to drop, he wanted other people’s standards to come up. And sometimes you lose a few people along the way when that happens
“I remember certain times when he pushed and pushed hard, and he didn’t get much reaction or much response. And there was frustration.
“When you deal with top, top people, it’s about them and where they can finish and where they can get to. They want to look back and go, ‘wow, that was successful’.
“And he probably realised, and I don’t know as I never had that conversation with him, that he couldn’t do it at Manchester United. So his challenges were elsewhere.
“He’s still playing international football, yes he’s in Saudi Arabia, but he’s still playing and scoring goals. He is doing all the things we knew he could do at Manchester United.
“But a really good personality, hard-working and challenging. He challenged me as a coach, Carlos Queiroz as a coach and Sir Alex as a manager. But that’s good because it takes you to another level.”