Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational return to Manchester United in the summer ruined the now-fired Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans for the new season, according to Paul Merson.
The Portugal international returned to Old Trafford from Juventus in a £ 19.8 million deal after the Norwegian, who was sacked on Sunday after three years in office, saw his team finish second behind Manchester City. in the Premier League in 2020-21.
But before the arrival of the 36-year deadline, United had handed over a one-year extension to veteran forward Edinson Cavani and signed Jadon Sancho on a £ 73 million deal with Borussia Dortmund.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United ruined Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans for the new season, according to Paul Merson
But Merson feels the last two deals signaled Solskjaer’s plan to continue building on United’s counterattack style, which the former Arsenal midfielder believes is no longer plausible with Ronaldo at the helm.
The 53-year-old also claims that United are not a better team with Ronaldo in it, only hiring him to keep him out of the clutches of his city rivals.
‘Sorry for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’, Merson wrote in his Sky Sports column.
‘He had a plan at the beginning of the season, having finished second last season. He chased after Jadon Sancho for a long time, put him in, and gave Edinson Cavani one more year.
United extended Edinson Cavani’s contract for one year after finishing second in the Premier League
United then signed Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund to a £ 73 million deal in the summer.
Then just before the season starts, they hit Ronaldo. I think he threw it all out the window. From day one, they are not a better team with Ronaldo in it.
“29 games don’t go undefeated without playing in a certain way, and bringing Sancho gave them another weapon to play like that. With Ronaldo up there, you no longer have that weapon to play on the counter.
‘Everything is a snowball for Solskjaer. He had a plan, and the Ronaldo situation threw it all out the window, just before the season started.
‘They only went after him because they heard Man City chasing him. It’s not like United is calling Juventus to ask if he’s available because Ronaldo is the missing link for United to win the Premier League. It is not!
Merson (above) believes those deals were completed to continue and enhance United’s counterattack, which he claims is no longer possible with Ronaldo playing.
Merson also insisted that he was not ‘trying’ with the former Real Madrid star and that he is largely a ‘legend’, but asserts that United need to build a team and not depend on ‘someone to step up and put the ball in the net 20 times a season ‘to win trophies.
But it is not the first time that Merson expresses this point of view, telling Sky Sports during the international break after his setbacks by City and Liverpool: “ He is doing part of his job, I have said it here before. May Man United be a better team. ” without him on the team if I’m honest.
“If you want to play like Man United play, what were 28, 29 undefeated away games playing attacking football with great pace and skill in energy? They don’t have it now.”
When they played Man City last week, when they came out, there was only one team winning that, it was embarrassing.
Michael Carrick (right) has assumed temporary position following Solskjaer’s dismissal
“ Much worse than the Liverpool game, it was shocking, it got even worse when Liverpool went to West Ham and prepared the way they did and played the way they did, at the time they are. [Man United] they are everywhere. ‘
Ronaldo has scored four goals in nine Premier League games and nine in 14 in all competitions this season and will look to add to that tally at Villarreal in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
But his goals were not enough to keep his former teammate Solskjaer in a job, and the Norwegian said goodbye with tears in his eyes after being relieved of his duties less than 24 hours after his sad defeat by 4- 1 against Watford.
Former midfielder Michael Carrick has temporarily taken over the club before an interim boss is established, insisting he has “his own ideas” on how they should play.
When asked if fans could expect to see any change in the team’s approach Tuesday night, he said: ‘We will have to wait and see. I worked closely with Ole and we have very similar beliefs – we did it as players and we certainly do it as coaches.
‘Of course I have my own personality for Ole, but we are very similar and that is why we worked together for so long.
“I am not revealing too much about what my plans are, but I am very clear about how we want to play and I am looking forward to seeing that on the field.”