Ten Hag inherited a broken squad when he arrived from Ajax last summer and the club had just endured a torrid league campaign which saw dreadful results and a sixth-place finish in the table.
Ronaldo was United&aposs top goalscorer in that campaign but he was subsequently moved on by Ten Hag in November.
Phelan served as assistant manager to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick and he&aposs spoken to Sky Sports this week.
The 60-year-old, who only left his role at United last year, was at the club for both of Ronaldo&aposs stints and he opened up on what exactly went wrong for the five-time Ballon d&aposOr winner after his remarkable return to Old Trafford.
“The second time around, he came in a lot older and a lot more opinionated, strong-willed,” Phelan said. “He still had massively high standards and was terrific to work with. But I&aposd probably say a tougher mindset.
“He had been at Man United, he had been Portugal&aposs ever-present, he had been at [Real] Madrid. I liked it because he didn&apost want his standards to drop, he wanted other people&aposs standards to come up. And sometimes you lose a few people along the way when that happens.
“I remember certain times when he pushed and pushed hard, and he didn&apost get much reaction or much response. And there was frustration. When you deal with top, top people, it&aposs about them and where they can finish and where they can get to.
“They want to look back and go, &aposWow, that was successful&apos. And he probably realised, and I don&apost know as I never had that conversation with him, that he couldn&apost do it at Manchester United. So his challenges were elsewhere.
“He&aposs still playing international football, yes he&aposs in Saudi Arabia, but he&aposs still playing and scoring goals. He is doing all the things we knew he could do at Manchester United. But a really good personality, hard-working and challenging.