Lingard thrilled to have Ronaldo back at Man Utd
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The extent of Cristiano Ronaldo’s emotional reaction has been revealed by Portugal boss Fernando Santos after Serbia claimed a dramatic late winner on Sunday to qualify for the 2022 World Cup at their expense. The Manchester United star was furious at the final whistle and according to his manager, cited a near-miss in the sides’ previous meeting as he aimed an angry rant at Serbia’s celebrating players.
It had looked to be smooth sailing for Portugal when Renato Sanches put them 1-0 up inside two minutes.
However, Serbia played out of their skin, and a Dusan Tadic equaliser was eventually capped off with a dramatic Aleksandar Mitrovic winner in the final minute of normal time.
Wild celebrations were sparked on the Lisbon pitch, much to the dismay of the home crowd and players.
With Portugal’s requirement simply to avoid defeat on the night, Serbia’s victory consigned Ronaldo and his side to a gruelling play-off campaign over the coming months.
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Always the firce competitor, the frontman was seen to explode at his team-mates before collapsing into tears at full time.
In an interview with TVI, Santos explained that it was not just the Portugal players who felt Ronaldo’s wrath after the attacker had a goal crucially disallowed in their previous meeting with Serbia.
“I went to the field to support and comfort the players, he [Ronaldo] was telling a Serbian player: ‘You wouldn’t be laughing if the goal I scored there hadn’t been cancelled out’. What I told him was to take it easy,” Santos said.
“When the game was over, the disappointment was brutal.
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“If it was for the Portuguese, imagine for the players and staff. The players were on the ground.
“The players tried. But then we didn’t turn the game on. Every time we did, we created problems. But most of the time we couldn’t.
“Serbia were better. We tried. Our DNA is to have the ball on our feet and play.
“Bernardo Silva wanted the ball, but he was the only one. We played with fear and anxiety. It’s my responsibility.
“We’ll be in Qatar. We know we didn’t do what we should, but we’ll be there.”
Since their emotional defeat, Ronaldo is now tasked with screwing his head back on ahead of a crunch tie between Man Utd and Watford on Saturday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future could well hang in the balance, with reports indicating that work is already underway behind the scenes to find his replacement.
United have relied heavily on Ronaldo’s goals lately, so they will undoubtedly hope that his international mishaps can be swiftly put behind him before this weekend.
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