Manchester United legend Gary Neville believes Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must ‘compensate’ for Cristiano Ronaldo’s lack of work-rate if Manchester United are to challenge for the title.
Neville believes Solskjaer has to find the right ‘balance’ in his team as playing Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba will expose Manchester United to counterattacks.
“They had to do the deal, the club had to do the deal, Ole had to do the deal,” Neville said on Sky Bet’s The Overlap Fan Debate. ‘With it comes big positives, but with it also comes problems.
“Ronaldo had to be managed, shall we say, in the 2008 Barcelona semi-final, away from home, Cristiano Ronaldo was shoved up front on his own, [Wayne] Rooney and Ji-Sung Park were shoved wide and [Carlos] Tevez was brought back onto [Sergio] Busquets. Because you couldn’t carry him in the big games because generally he doesn’t work hard enough.
“He is playing up front there now, you are never going to press from the front. The idea that Manchester United are going to be a pressing team is never going to happen, he wasn’t pressing 10 or 15 years ago.
“So then you say what is the style of Manchester United? Are they a counter attack team? That becomes difficult when you are playing against teams that are inferior to you most of the time.
“What you get is teams like Aston Villa and Everton counter attacking, bit of quality, a half decent team against Manchester United will cut through them. That is a problem. So they have got to stop that.”
He added: “There is big decisions that Ole has to make in the next few weeks to compensate for Ronaldo coming. What they have to find now is a way of playing with Ronaldo in there.
“I support the signing, he is a great… I love him to bits, I couldn’t love him any more, but United have to find a way of playing to compensate him.
“If you then put Bruno Fernandes in there, you then put Mason Greenwood in there, you then put Paul Pogba in there, with Cristiano you are going to get cut through on the counter attack and you aren’t winning any leagues. Trust me you aren’t winning any leagues. So there has got to be a balance to the team.”