Cristiano Ronaldo has recently been criticised for failing to acknowledge Manchester United fans after matches. However, despite his side losing 1-0 to Wolves on Monday, the Portugal international decided to applaud them as he trudged off the field. There was no denying his angry mood, though, with the 36-year-old having a grimace on his face as he did so.
Manchester United were dire against Wolves and slumped to a 1-0 defeat, with veteran Joao Moutinho scoring the only goal of the game in the closing stages.
It was another setback in a turbulent campaign for the club, who now face a massive fight when it comes to securing Champions League qualification for next season.
Ronaldo was made captain for the game in the absence of Harry Maguire, who was unable to recover from injury in time for the showdown at Old Trafford.
He endured a problematic night, with Wolves barely giving him an inch as they masterminded their way to victory.
In recent weeks, much has been said and written about Ronaldo not applauding fans after the game – with the former Juventus and Real Madrid star sometimes storming straight down the tunnel.
Yet Ronaldo, with the armband on him, walked directly over to the Stretford End and thanked supporters for cheering them on – even if the grimace on his face suggested he’d rather do something else.
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His disappointed expression spoke volumes on a night where United were, once again, reminded of how far they’ve fallen.
And manager Ralf Rangnick admitted he was unimpressed with both the performance and the result when interviewed by Sky Sports straight after the game.
“Very disappointed, like the players,” he said.
“We knew it could be a complicated game because the Wolves with a back five are very flexible in midfield.
“In the first half we were struggling.
“We had too many easy turnovers, too many unforced errors and too many giveaways. That didn’t make the job any easier for us and that is why we changed to a back three.
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“For 35 minutes we had more control and missed the chance to score the first goal. It was clear to me the team that scored the first goal would win the game.
“Today we showed similar problems the team had three or four weeks ago before I arrived.
“It is not an easy job to develop a DNA with and without the ball. The game today showed there are still quite a few steps to.”
On making the top four specifically, he then added: “I cannot make any guarantees.
“Look at today’s performance if I say we are 100 per cent convinced we will finish in the top four I don’t know if people will believe that. For me it is about taking the next steps and getting better.
Wolves boss Bruno Lage was delighted with the win, however. He said: “It is one more victory.
“Lovely stadium, a place with a lot of history but the most important thing is how we played.
“We played in our way, we controlled the first half and missed a lot of chances. We win three points, and have more chances than goals.
“We deserved the three points. Every time I am positive and try to win the games. This is football, they had one good chance for Bruno.”
Moutinho also spoke out after his late heroics.
He said: “What I want is to help the team.
“Winning here at Old Trafford against a big team is amazing for us.
“We came here to play football, play with the ball, that’s what we do. We created a lot of shots in the first half. They changed a little bit to three centre-backs like us. We controlled everything. We only let them create one opportunity on the bar.
“We deserved it because of what we did over 90 minutes. I hope we can continue with this performance.
“Phil Jones headed out the ball. I tried to see where it went. [After] my first touch I said I need to shoot. That’s what I need to do, to shoot more. A beautful goal.”