Ronaldo hat-trick saves Man United’s blushes as Rangnick issues warning

Manager says side will need huge improvement ahead of Liverpool game

Cristiano Ronaldo heads home his second goal in Manchester United’s Premier League game against Norwich City at Old Trafford. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty

Manchester United 3 Norwich 2

Ralf Rangnick admits Manchester United will need to perform much better to get anything at Liverpool after Cristiano Ronaldo came to their rescue against Norwich on a day that saw anti-Glazer protests and fans turn on Paul Pogba.

Thousands of supporters protested against the owners ahead of Saturday's encounter at Old Trafford, where Kieran Dowell and Teemu Pukki goals cancelled out Ronaldo's first-half brace.

Paul Pogba of Manchester United looks on during the Premier League match against Norwich City at Old Trafford. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Anti-Glazer chants were joined by those criticising the side as United toiled against the Premier League’s bottom side, with some supporters singing “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” at their players.


But Ronaldo saved the day by completing his hat-trick and securing a 3-2 win, injecting new life into their top-four hopes ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Liverpool.

Jürgen Klopp’s Reds remain in contention for an unprecedented quadruple after beating Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday and Rangnick knows his side will need to step their level up at Anfield.

“I mean, everybody has seen today’s game,” interim boss Rangnick said. “We all know what team we’re playing on Tuesday.

“They won against Man City today, they’re in the FA Cup final. In the end they might have the chance to win four trophies this season.

“If we play like we played today, it will be very, very difficult to get even a point out of this game and this is what we have to be realistically aware of.

“So, we need to raise our own level and standard. Probably Fred and Scott [McTominay] will not be back, Raphael Varane will also be a tight race for the game on Tuesday. So far he hasn’t trained with the team.

“But we have to be realistic, we have to play a lot better if Liverpool is in possession of the ball than we did today.”

Pogba will be one of the main talking points ahead of the trip to Liverpool after his substitution was welcomed by supporters, with some letting him know in no uncertain terms that they are happy for him to leave this summer.

The France international, who is out of contract at the end of the season, cupped his ears to a particularly critical corner as he went down the tunnel.

“I didn’t hear it myself, to be honest,” Rangnick said. “But we were talking about it with my staff in my office in the locker room.

“I think the fans here are amazing, I really do. The support in the stadium today was again great, it couldn’t have been any better.

“I can understand if that the fans are frustrated and disappointed – so are we. Things have stayed, as far as I know, peaceful all the time.

“I don’t think it makes sense to take on and to target any individual person or players because it’s a collective responsibility.

“Even if you look into the past, for me it doesn’t make sense and this is why I will always defend and protect my players.”

Norwich boss Dean Smith was proud of his side’s display at Old Trafford but felt the goals they conceded were “handed on a platter” to Ronaldo-inspired United.

“I’m extremely disappointed with the result but pleased with the performance,” he said after a loss that dented the Canaries’ fading survival hopes.

“You can’t give the goals away that we give against Manchester United. If you concede three goals, you normally lose and unfortunately that did happen.

“But I felt in both boxes we could have been better because we’ve had some really good opportunities on the counter.

“[David] de Gea’s pulled a really good save off at 2-2 as well which could have changed the game.”