In pictures: Leicester v Man Utd
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been told he can get the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo by copying Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid . United have taken just a point from their last three Premier League games despite five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo spearheading a wealth of attacking talent.
United host Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday with Solskjaer under increasing pressure following Saturday’s 4-2 defeat to Leicester.
Ronaldo’s lack of pressing was also highlighted prior to the international break, with stats showing the 36-year-old completed less pressures on an opponent than any other top-flight forward who had played regularly this season.
But Solskjaer can get more of Ronaldo by getting Edinson Cavani to do his “dirty work”, according to former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino.
Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been told how to get the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo (Image: REUTERS)
Cascarino said Solskjaer should start Cavani alongside Ronaldo so the Uruguayan striker can chase the ball, press defenders and regain possession high up the pitch.
“Solskjaer has the perfect solution in Edinson Cavani,” the ex-Aston Villa and Celtic man wrote in his column for The Times .
“At Paris Saint-Germain, he did the same dirty work for Neymar and Kylian Mbappé that [Karim] Benzema did for Ronaldo at Real.
“I watched a lot of PSG and out of all of their superstars it was Cavani that made the biggest difference. He has all the experience in the world, works his socks off, and would give Ronaldo the safety net he needs.”
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Cascarino pointed out that Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez had performed similar duties to allow Ronaldo to shine in his first spell at Old Trafford.
He said Ronaldo’s younger team-mates Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes “were playing for themselves” against Leicester and did not have the experience to “always make the right decisions”.
And he suggested United talisman Fernandes could be the man to miss out if a player had to be sacrificed for a different tactical set-up.
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Edinson Cavani could do the “dirty work” for Cristiano Ronaldo (Image: REUTERS)
Cascarino described Fernandes as “the only movable object”, claiming that Portugal’s Euro 2020 experience showed he and Ronaldo together made a team too easy to attack.
The 59-year-old argued that Jesse Lingard could also be called upon to win the ball back high up – but said benching Ronald would be the worst thing Solskjaer could do.
“Jesse Lingard is an option too,” he stated.
“Lingard is very underrated for his ability to regain the ball, and that's why Solskjaer has kept him.
“Fernandes may be far better technically but Lingard will do the dirty work as well as create chances.”
He added: “Solskjaer has plenty of options. The worst of them all would be to drop Ronaldo.”
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