Bemoaning Ronaldo's Manchester United absence at kick-off makes no sense

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been criticized by many for resting Cristiano Ronaldo last weekend. But the moaning makes no sense.

United were 1-0 up when the Portuguese rose from the bench. And there were still 33 minutes to increase that lead.

Those who say Ronaldo would have scored earlier chances that fell to Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani are also missing the point.

If United’s talisman had been on the field, those chances would not have been there to score. Every kick Martial and Cavani took prior would have been wiped; an entirely different game playing out.

If anything, Ronaldo’s inability to find a second should be highlighted, rather than Solskjaer’s decision to rest him.


Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

The United manager has got plenty wrong during his tenure; not least his failure to sign a quality holding midfielder in an otherwise outstanding summer. But benching Ronaldo on Saturday is not a stick he should be beaten with.

It is moaning for the sake of it. The truth is, United had more than enough talent to win that game without Ronaldo.

It’s not all about one player despite the headlines

Had they held on, giving their returning hero a rest would have been hailed as a masterstroke.

Instead, United conceded an equaliser when Ronaldo was on the pitch, not off it.

It is now fashionable to criticize the United boss. But this is one instance where it simply doesn’t make sense.

The international break has come at a tough time for Solskjaer. Had United won last time out, they would be top. Instead, the pundits have their proverbial knives out.

It is easy to point the finger at Ronaldo sitting on the bench as the reason for United’s latest setback. But it is also lazy and, most importantly, wrong.

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Vincent is the Senior Managing Editor of Freshered. He was previously Head of Sixth Form at a secondary school in Kent, where he worked with hundreds of 16 to 19-year-olds over eight years.