Ralf Rangnick cannot repeat Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo cup mistake

When Cristiano Ronaldo re-signed for Manchester United, hopes were high. We were still all kidding ourselves into a title challenge, and there were four trophies on the table up for grabs.

Already by the end of Ronaldo’s first month back as United player, the situation was not looking so promising in the league after a loss to Villa, and strikingly the number of possible trophies had gone down to three.

Ronaldo was not even on the bench as United were beaten at home to West Ham, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer resting him. The end result was a 1-0 home loss and one of United’s easiest routes to silverware going begging without even giving the iconic number 7 a kick.

Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

United can’t make that mistake again

Early elimination from the cup was one of the many contributory factors which led to Solskjaer’s sacking. Now as the FA Cup comes back around, the club cannot make the same mistake again.

The FA Cup is now one of just two available trophies to United this season. The league is already out of reach, with the team slumping to seventh place.

Ronaldo is United’s best bet of success, with the 36-year-old netting 14 goals already this season, 12 of which have come from open play.

Even amid a stretch of indifferent team form, where no players’ place should be safe, leaving out Ronaldo for this match should not even be considered.

Ronaldo is the player you don’t want to leave out of a knockout cup game. He has the character to step up when his team needs him most.

United don’t want to be left wondering ‘what if’ like they were after the West Ham defeat in September. What if the manager had taken the game more seriously and played Ronaldo? Leave your best players out and usually the team will pay.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Consider the backdrop that United’s poor league form could prompt Ronaldo to look elsewhere in the summer so he can play Champions League football, and the Red Devils absolutely have to make the most of him right now.

Losing with Ronaldo would be one thing, but losing the game while leaving him out would be even more disastrous.

Hopefully Ralf Rangnick is more sensible than Solskjaer was earlier in the season and has Ronaldo leading the line tonight.

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