Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has discussed the prospect of resting Cristiano Ronaldo as Manchester United prepare to face Young Boys in the Champions League this week.
Ronaldo made a dream return to the Red Devils after scoring twice on his first appearance since re-joining the club from Juventus, netting a brace as Newcastle were beaten 4-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The Portugal international’s return has created huge excitement around the club, but Solskjaer says he must manage the minutes of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner who will turn 37 later this season.
“The thing with Cristiano is that he looks after himself so much so I know he will recover quickly and he has had a pre-season,” Solskjaer said at his post-match press conference. “Of course it’s important that we get everyone up and running and to get him up and running and to give him 90 minutes.
“Of course there is a game on Tuesday (against Young Boys). We will see what we do. But no, it’s not impossible to leave him out. He is 36, Mason [Greenwood] is 19, so it’s the same, I have to manage his minutes, and I have to manage a 36-year-old’s minutes as well.”
The Man Utd boss also spoke on his delight with the competition for places in the first-team squad and believes the summer signings of Ronaldo and Raphael Varane have galvanised the squad and added ‘winners’ to the Red Devils’ dressing room.
“The more quality you add to the group and the more healthy competition and leaders who they look up to,” Solskjaer said.
“I think seeing Raphael [Varane] and Cristiano coming it’s raised everyone’s eyebrows because they are winners, they have won everything there is to win and they put demands on themselves which the young boys, the rest of the team, they look at them and think: ‘That is how you stay at the top.’
“So it is only going to be good for everyone and there is competition for places which is great for me to see.”