Cristiano Ronaldo and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - Manchester United
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Solskjaer admits Ronaldo impacted Man United style

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that Manchester United were forced to change tactically following the re-signing of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Manchester United made headlines with the capture of former favourite Ronaldo from Juventus in 2021, agreeing the return of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, 12 years after his departure from Old Trafford in a world-record deal.

 

Ronaldo’s return was celebrated by supporters and the Portuguese forward scored 24 goals in all competitions to win the club’s Player of the Season award in 2021/22.

However, Ronaldo’s advancing age meant the forward impacted the tactical style of the side, with the veteran eventually forced out after fallout with Solskjaer’s successor, Erik ten Hag.

Solskjaer had been sacked after a disappointing run of results in November 2021 and admits the arrival of Ronaldo contributed to his exit, forcing him to change the game plan.

“We started off straight away thinking how we are going to press and change the little tweaks,” Solskjaer told The Overlap.

“Cristiano is different to Antony Martial who was up front, or whether we would play Mason [Greenwood] or Marcus [Rashford] up front. Edinson Cavani was the one that suffered the most when Cristiano came in – we’d played and got Edinson into a certain way of understanding the way we played.

 

“Cristiano – when you know him and speak to him, he wanted to play three out of four games, he realised he’s getting older as well. But when you leave him out once, he’s not happy!

“With the ball, with him in the team, it was no problem. Without him [pressing], we had to change a little bit the different roles we’d gotten used to. We were one of the highest pressing teams before [Ronaldo joined]. We let Dan James go when Cristiano came in, and they’re two different types of players. It was the right decision to make for me – it didn’t turn out to be the right one.”

Read – Solskjaer reveals Manchester United rejected Haaland

See more – Four Premier League footballers who fell upwards this season

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