Reds captain Ryan Giggs insisted: "Penalty takers should always take penalties, simple as that. If we got an important penalty in the next couple of weeks then Cristiano scoring one today will give him the confidence to do it again."
Rio Ferdinand added: "It's professionalism. If the game was 1-1, Ronaldo would have taken the penalty. Sentiment doesn't really come into it. We're a professional team and I'm sure it means nothing to Carlos."
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson agreed, telling manutd.com: "Cristiano is the regular penalty kick taker and I can understand him wanting to take it. It would have been great for Carlos to get his hat-trick, but it's also important for Ronaldo to keep his goalscoring run going.
"When you're on a run like Cristiano is (12 goals in his last nine games) you want him to keep it going. It's the same for any player, it helps to keep your confidence high."