Ronaldo Stands Out, United Inconsistent

Total SportekOctober 21, 2021

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom: Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United has resulted in two late victories against Villarreal and Atalanta and brought the Red Devils closer to the last 16 of the Champions League.

However, Ronaldo’s return also has an impact on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad which is seen as a group of players with individual talent but not playing as a team.

United were on track to record their fifth defeat in eight games as Atalanta took a 2-0 first-half lead at Old Trafford earlier this morning.

The resurgence in the second half eased the pressure on Solskjaer as United climbed from the bottom of Group F to the top after the end of the match.

Ronaldo’s lack of pursuit of the ball has been criticized for causing United’s defensive record to deteriorate. However in the end he gave up something with six goals in nine games.

“He’s great in front of goal,” Solskjaer said. “If anyone wants to criticize because of his level of play or his character, try watching this match. See how he runs around the field.”

Three points were collected to reduce the risk of being knocked out of the group stage for the second season in a row, although much is still needed to face Atalanta and Villarreal away.

The focus is now on Solskjaer ahead of Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford on Sunday while Tottenham and Manchester City will also be there before the international break in November.

United have picked up just one point out of nine overall in the English Premier League (EPL) against Aston Villa, Everton and Leicester leaving them five points behind the leaders.

“The first -half game was worrying. It didn’t look like a team,” said former United midfielder Paul Scholes.

“Can they play like that against Liverpool? Impossible. Can you play against Manchester City like that? Can you play against a Champions League first team like that?

“I didn’t want to be seen as looking for focus but that first half really worried me.”