Solskjaer praises exceptional Cristiano Ronaldo

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer put Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for the last match before the international break.

Ronaldo came on in the second half of that 1-1 draw against Everton as United put in another disjointed performance.

Solskjaer was asked about the decision to rest the Portuguese superstar at his pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to face Leicester today.

The United boss did not miss the opportunity to wax lyrical about Ronaldo, saying he would ideally want to play him in every game but knows he can not.

Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

“You know, he’s an exceptional player, exceptional finisher, and a goalscorer, and an exceptional professional,” said Solskjaer of Ronaldo.

“It’s hard to leave him out. Everyone would love to, how do you say… You can go play six games in six days and play the same XI every time, it’d be great. But it’s rotation.

“We need to get to April-May with everyone firing, last season we got to May and we were a little bit too tired.

“I’m the manager, I manage the players, I manage for the club, but, of course, it’s nice to have him on the pitch because he’ll always come up with the goods and the more we have him on the pitch, the better.”

Tom Purslow/Tom Purslow

Ronaldo will expect to play at the King Power Stadium as United embark on a tricky run of fixtures in October.

He was brought in as the man who can make the difference in those matches, which were tight on many occasions for United last season.

Solskjaer’s selection decisions will always be scrutinised if United do not win, especially with a player of Ronaldo’s enormous profile.

What Solskjaer really needs is his side to show signs of more cohesion in attack and less openness to opposition counter attacks, especially up against Jamie Vardy, who is one of the best on the break in the business.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.