Ronaldo claimed in an interview that anything less than third place would be a failure at Old Trafford, as seventh-placed United continue to struggle this season.
But the United's all-time record goalscorer Rooney, now a manager at Derby, believes the bar Ronaldo set in that interview is too low - and that United should be challenging for top-flight titles every season.
"Manchester United have to be a top-one team, not top-three," Rooney told a Derby press conference. "That's the demands which the fans put on you, the demands that the club has.
"Of course, they're going through a difficult period 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 with coming and playing or working for Manchester United.
"That's the level they need to be back to. I'm sure they'll do the right things to get them back to that place."
"In my eyes, I don't accept that our mentality be less than to be in the top three in the Premier League."
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