Darren Bent has said he ‘really likes’ Cristiano Ronaldo’s mentality after the Manchester United striker demanded his teammates aim higher than just finishing in the top four.
Despite United sitting in seventh after their most recent league game, a 1-0 defeat to Wolves, the Portugal superstar has insisted that the club should be aiming for at least the top three.
Ronaldo is trying desperately to set the standard this seasonAFP But he’s been left disappointed by his teammate’s aspirationsGetty
Fourth-placed West Ham are currently six points above United, while the gap to Liverpool in third is even bigger at 11.
However, serial winner Ronaldo is demanding more from his underperforming side if they are to improve to his five-time Champions League-winning standards.
Carabao Cup Betting Special – Get Arsenal to win and BTTS vs Liverpool at 11/2
The 36-year-old told Sky Sports “Manchester United should win the league or finish in second or third. I don’t see any other positions for Manchester United.
“In my head I don’t accept that our mentality be that we finish below the top three in the Premier League.”
Rivals City are making things look easy as they close in on the titleGetty And Ronaldo has been left picking up the piecesGetty
The statement is seen as a wake up call for Ronaldo’s struggling teammates, who owe their spot in the Champions League knockout rounds to his crucial goals.
talkSPORT host and Premier League 100 goal club member Darren Bent has since applauded Ronaldo’s message to his squad.
“I like his mentality, I really like it,” he said.
“You talk about someone who’s won the absolute lot, individual accolades, team accolades, the biggest trophies there are to win.
Ronaldo has won it all at club level, including an astonishing five Champions League titles, only Real Madrid’s Paco Gento has more
“The fact that he’s not happy with them competing for the top four, I like that.”
Bent, though, was far less hopeful than Ronaldo, explaining his team are nowhere close to the league’s runaway top three.
“They’ve got no chance, in my opinion, of getting into that top three,” Bent said.
“They’re absolutely miles away from catching the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, the gap’s huge.
The gulf between United and rivals such as Liverpool was shown during a record breaking 5-0 defeat at Old TraffordAFP
“But I like it, and I think players in the dressing room listening to someone of that stature talk, it will ring bells in their ears, thinking ‘maybe we are underachieving’.”
United are currently in the midst of a transition with Ralf Rangnick replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on an interim basis after the Norwegian’s near three-year tenure ended trophyless.
Rangnick is said to have a say on United’s long-term Solskjaer replacement in the summer, with the club hoping to pick the right candidate as they plan a return to former glories.
Rangnick’s part in United’s climb back to the top is already being questionedGETTY
Some of those high points coincided with Ronaldo’s first spell at the club between 2003 and 2009, and Bent feels that has tainted the view of football’s record goal scorer.
“Where he sees Manchester United football club… When he left Manchester United they were winning Premier League titles, Champions Leagues,” Bent explained.
“So he left them when they were at the peak of their powers, he’s come back to this football club and it’s a shell of itself.
“It’s nowhere near the Manchester United that he left so I like what he said, I like the attitude, but in terms of that top three – no chance for me.”
Get The EDGE
talkSPORT EDGE is the free football app that keeps you one step ahead of your mates with short, sharp and shareable content.
Stay up to date with everything going on in the football world with breaking news, live scores and in-app betting.
How can I get it?
It’s available on iPhone and Android devices.
For iPhone, download talkSPORT EDGE via the App Store here.
For Android, download talkSPORT EDGE via the Play Store here.