Cristiano Ronaldo should have started against Everton, says Sir Alex Ferguson | Manchester United
Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s decision to use Cristiano Ronaldo as a substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Everton has been criticized by Manchester United manager’s own mentor Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ronaldo remained on the bench until the 57th minute. United were leading 1-0 when they came on, only for Everton to score an equalizer thanks to Andros Townsend as United’s recent indifferent form continued.
In a video posted to Twitter, Ferguson, who was instrumental in Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford, questions Solskjær’s squad selection.
Filmed talking to former mixed martial arts champion and United fan Khabib Nurmagomedov in the managers lounge at Old Trafford after the Premier League game, Ferguson appears to suggest Ronaldo should have started.
“I also think when they saw that Ronaldo wasn’t playing…” Ferguson said. He is then interrupted by the Russian, who specifies: “He entered in the second half. Ferguson goes on to say, “Of course. But I also think that when [Everton] since Ronaldo was not playing … “
United have won one of their last four games, when Ronaldo scored a late Champions League game-winning goal against Villarreal last week. Questions have been raised about Solskjær’s continued suitability as a successor to Ferguson, who has led the club to 13 Premier League titles and won the Champions League twice.
Solskjær, a player under Ferguson from 1996 to 2007, and United manager since December 2018, has made much of his relationship with his former boss, often returning to work under the Scotsman, 79, and now the club’s manager and ambassador. So far he hasn’t been able to lift a trophy, with United losing in last season’s Europa League final to Villarreal on penalties.
Mike Phelan, Ferguson’s assistant in his later years, meanwhile got a new contract until June 2024, the length of his contract matching that of Solskjær, who signed a similar extension in July.
Phelan returned to the club to work alongside Solskjær when the Norwegian replaced José Mourinho, initially on an interim basis before the post became permanent later in the 2018-19 season.
Handing over this deal to Phelan suggests the satisfaction of Glazer Family Ownership with the current managerial setup, despite recent results. Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo has scored five goals in six appearances since returning to the club he first played for from 2003 to 2009.