Manchester United: Cristiano Ronaldo defended by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after pressing criticism

The Independent
The Independent

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended Cristiano Ronaldo’s tactical role, insisting that he is doing everything he can despite lack of pressing as part of Manchester United ’s attack.

United were roundly criticised for their failure to shut down Leicester City during Saturday’s 4-2 defeat at the King Power Stadium.

Brendan Rodgers’ side played through the lines easily, with the Leicester manager later admitting that a lack of pressing through the centre of United’s team made it easier for them to create scoring chances.

Ronaldo has pressed opponents fewer times than any other Premier League player in his position and was among the least active forwards in European football for pressing last season.

The 36-year-old’s reluctance to press has been identified by some as a problem for United but Solskjaer suggested that Ronaldo has different tactical duties to his team-mates.

“We’ve got 11 players on the pitch with different roles and responsibilities,” he said. “We put a team out there that we think is going to win that game, we didn’t win against Leicester so there’s always going to be criticism.

“Cristiano is an absolute top player and we know what he can do for us and he’s doing everything he can do to help the team.”

Solskjaer described United’s fourth defeat in seven games as an “eye-opener” and is hoping for a response against Atalanta at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, with his side having already lost once in their Champions League group stage campaign.

“It’s not a gimmicky, jovial, happy camp,” Solskjaer admitted. “They’re focused and determined.

“You look at yourself, what can I do to help the team. I've seen a reaction from the players, conceding four goals is a big eye-opener for us that we need to improve on different levels and loads of details.”

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