Former Manchester United icon Gary Neville has warned former team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer he has to make “big decisions” when it comes to selecting some United stars
Ever since his return, Ronaldo has dominated the narrative around Old Trafford this season.
The 36-year-old has made a red-hot start to his second spell with the Red Devils with five goals in seven games, but his sparkling form hasn’t been replicated by United.
Solskjaer’s team are in a slump after recording just two wins from their last six games, with pressure starting to pile up on the Norwegian.
And his former team-mate Neville believes that he has to compensate for Ronaldo if he is to get United out of their rut – even with the Portuguese ace making such a prolific start to life back in the Premier League.
“There is big decisions that Ole is going to have to make in the next few weeks to compensate for Ronaldo coming,” Neville warned when discussing United on The Overlap.
“So when I said United could win the league with Kane, and I don’t think they can with Ronaldo, I say that with knowledge of both players. I just think the team of Manchester United would be better [with Kane].
“However, what they have to find now is a way of playing with Ronaldo in there. I support the signing, I love him to bits, but United have to find a way playing to compensate for him.
“It’s like we did 10-15 years ago, where you had Scholes and Carrick in midfield, but you had Ji-Sung Park working like you wouldn’t believe, Rooney slogging up and down that right wing, and Tevez slogging up and down around it. Everyone else was working like a dog to compensate for Cristiano.
“If you then put Bruno Fernandes in there, you put Mason Greenwood in there, you then put Paul Pogba in there with Cristiano – you’re going to get cut through on the counter-attack and you’re not winning the league.
“There’s got to be a balance to the team.”
Neville’s comments come on the cusp of United’s return to domestic action, with Solskjaer facing a monumental run of fixtures.
Solskjaer also faces a tough engagement against Atalanta, who United will face both home and away, in the Champions League as well. The Italian’s are currently above United at the top of Group F.
The 48-year-old knows that he has to turn United’s form around with expectations high after a summer of big investment.
But he may have to do it without his first-choice defensive partnership.
Harry Maguire is set to miss the game with his old club with a calf injury, whilst Raphael Varane picked up a muscle issue in France’s Nations League final triumph over Spain.
It’s expected that Varane’s groin problem could sideline him for a number of weeks – which could spell bad news for Solskjaer considering the fixtures that lie ahead.