Manchester United has said it is focused on “togetherness” and “considering its response” after an interview with Cristiano Ronaldo in which he claimed he is being forced out of the club.

Behind closed doors, the club is understood to be “extremely disappointed” with the manner and timing of the interview with Piers Morgan.

In an official statement, the club said:

“Our focus remains on preparing for the second half of the season and continuing the momentum, belief and togetherness being built among the players, manager, staff and fans.”

It added it would “consider its response after the full facts have been established”.

The team only found out about the interview as they were preparing to fly back from London on Sunday evening after their 1-2 win against Fulham.

Head coach Erik ten Hag and Ronaldo’s fellow players are said to not understand why he made the remarks and are hugely disappointed that he would disrespect the club.

In a 90-minute interview, which will be broadcast later this week on TalkTV, the Portugal star claimed ten Hag and others want him out of Old Trafford.

When asked if United’s hierarchy were trying to force him out of the club, Ronaldo said:

“Yes, not only the coach, but another two or three guys around the club. I felt betrayed.”

The 37-year-old revealed he did not respect boss ten Hag, saying:

“I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me. If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.”

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner also claimed there has been “zero progress” at the club since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and criticised their “lack of sympathy” for him when his baby daughter fell ill and was hospitalised.

Ronaldo was told on Thursday that he would not be in the starting XI against Fulham, but he would have been in the squad.

He told the club he was ill and did not attend the match.

Since he rejoined the club last summer, the forward has had a turbulent time, struggling to get playing time.

He was left on the substitute’s bench despite being 4-0 down against Manchester City, and, in a match against Tottenham he refused to come onto the pitch as a substitute and stormed down the tunnel before full-time.

Wayne Rooney commented on the walkout and in the incendiary interview with Morgan, Ronaldo hit out at his former United teammate.

Writing in The Sun newspaper, Morgan revealed Ronaldo said:

“I don’t know why he criticises me so badly… probably because he finished his career, and I’m still playing at a high level.

“I’m not going to say that I’m looking better than him. Which is true…”

When the news broke on Sunday night, Match Of The Day 2 pundit Jermaine Jenas said he was “totally baffled” as to why Ronaldo had done it, and he believed it had made it now impossible for ten Hag to play him any more.

Former Liverpool and England player Jamie Carragher said in a tweet he thought “99% of United fans will be on the side of ETH (Erik ten Hag)”.

Source: Sky News

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