Wayne Rooney has refuted claims by his old teammate Cristiano Ronaldo that Manchester United should be aiming for a top-three finish, by upping the stakes.
The Portuguese superstar made the claims in a recent interview with Sky Sports.
He also criticised the team’s form of late and insists he came back to Old Trafford last summer so that he could add to his bulging trophy cabinet.
But Rooney, a teammate of Ronaldo’s between 2004 and 2009, says they should instead be a ‘top one’ team.
In the lengthy interview, Ronaldo said: “Manchester United should win the league or be second or third. I don’t see other positions for Manchester United to be honest.
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“In my eyes, I don’t accept that our mentality be less than to be in the top three. We are capable to change things now.
“I don’t know the specific way I’m a player, not the coach, the president, I know the way but I’m not going to mention it here because I think it’s not ethic [sic] from my part to say that.
“What I can say and something I can say we are in control, we can do it better, all of us. Manchester belongs in important things, we have to change that.
“I don’t want to be here in a club to fight to be in sixth or seventh or fifth place, I’m here to try to win, to compete.
“I think we compete but we are not yet at our best level. Long way to improve and I believe if we change our mind, we can achieve big things.”
But responding to those comments, Rooney believes the aim at Old Trafford should always to be top dogs.
Over 13 seasons at Old Trafford, Rooney became the club’s record goalscorer and won a plethora of titles including five Premier League trophies, the Champions League and the FA Cup.
Rooney, now manager of Championship side Derby, said: “Manchester United have to be a top one team, not top three, and I think that’s the demands the fans put on you, the demands that club has.
“Of course they’re going through a very difficult period at the minute, but make no mistake that’s a club that has to be winning championships.
“It has to be winning trophies, and that’s the pressure we come in with playing or working at Manchester United.
“That’s where they need to get back to. I’m sure they’re trying to do the right things to get them back to that place.”
Ronaldo made a sensational return to United last summer and the 36-year-old has notched 14 goals so far across all competitions.
But even with only half the league season elapsed, United are a mammoth 22 points behind leaders Manchester City.
That means their most likely route to a trophy will have to come in the Champions League, where they are into the last-16, or the FA Cup, where they are into the fourth round.