As funny as it might sound, the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo might just have made united weaker.
Up until this season, United knew how to win against the big teams as Solskjaer deployed a counterattacking system in which his team sat behind the ball, compressing the space in the simplest way possible.
A run of tricky games they play the other five of the ‘Big Six’ before November out gives a chance for Solskjaer to recover, then, and yet the collapse against Leicester suggests Ronaldo has made United worse at the one thing they did well.
Of all the forwards to have played three Premier League games this season, Ronaldo ranks bottom of the table for pressures, with 17, significantly fewer than second-bottom Romelu Lukaku’s 43.
Predictably, Ronaldo’s disinterest in pressing has spread like an infection through the squad.
It was remarkable to watch how easily Leicester passed from center-back into central midfield, with one vertical ball past Ronaldo allowing Youri Tielemans or Boubakary Soumare to turn and run towards goal.
Carragher has been speaking about the attacker’s coming back to United. Even though he is “one of the greatest players of all time”, the pundit claims that Ronaldo may have a “negative” influence on the team:
Manchester United needed a midfield anchor like Ndidi or Saul more than they needed another attacker, Ronaldo might mask this deficiency, but there were still warning signs in the performance against Newcastle in his second debut for United.
Now it’s all too glaring to see against a team of Liverpool’s caliber where the disorganized system of United was exposed by the Liverpool team.
Solskjaer might have his tactical flaws but this is a team that finished second last season being thrashed by Liverpool.
Ronaldo’s unwillingness to track back and defend is really affecting the team and has taken the shine off Cavani who had a great season the previous season.
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Has Cristiano Ronaldo Weakened United?
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