Manchester United needs more than just a Cristiano Ronaldo to win
Pressure starts to mount as Manchester United begins to realize that having Cristiano Ronaldo back isn’t the only thing needed to win.
Manchester United came back from the International Break with high hopes of regaining the rhythm it had at the start of the season by beating Leicester City.
It can be recalled that prior to the facing the Foxes, many were suggesting that Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made a terrible mistake of dropping Cristiano Ronaldo from his starting XI against Everton.
Apparently, fans believed that had Solskjaer started the lethal Portuguese striker, Manchester United would’ve come away with a win instead of a draw.
However, that wasn’t the case against Leicester. The Norwegian put Ronaldo back in the starting lineup and formed a dynamic attack including, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood.
When Greenwood hit the back of the net on the 19th minute, Leicester was silenced and Manchester United looked set to make the goals rain at the King Power Stadium. At the same time, all eyes were on Ronaldo.
To everybody’s surprise, Ronaldo failed to score a single goal as it seemed like at one point, Leicester defenders were able to predict the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s movement. In other occasions, Ronaldo appeared to be just having troubles converting.
After 63 minutes, Manchester United managed to bounce back with a goal courtesy of returning striker Marcus Rashford.
When Rashford netted the equalizer on the 82nd minute, fans sensed a glimmer of hope as they were reminded that before Ronaldo entered the scene, it was Rashford whom they rely on in the front.
What happened next revealed another major hurdle Manchester United should overcome. In a span of 17 minutes, Leicester scored two goals on the Red Devils, a scenery that convinced Solskjaer that his team’s poor defense was inexcusable.
“The goals we conceded were disappointing, the timing of them and the way they were conceded,” Solskjaer told Manchester United’s official website after the game. “We were not good enough – with and without the ball. You have to run, block and tackle and we didn’t do that enough.”
“It wasn’t just the midfield, but we were too easy to play through,” the manager concluded. “Maybe we gave too much space, but that’s the whole team. I agree we didn’t defend well enough. We just didn’t do things well enough.”
As Solskjaer have mentioned, the midfield and the defense are two things they need to improve.
However, according to Manchester United star midfielder Paul Pogba, the problem isn’t just technical.
Though he hasn’t figure it out yet, Pogba is certain it has something to do with the team’s mentality.
“We deserved to lose,” Pogba told the BBC post-game. “To be honest, we have been having these kinds of games for a long time.”
“We have not found the problem, conceding easy goals, stupid goals,” he added. “We need to be more mature, play with more experience and arrogance in a good way. We need to find something, we need to change. We need to find the right mentality and the right tactic. Stick with it and resolve the problem.”