Gary Neville believes that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 5-3-2 formation in Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Tottenham brings out the best in Cristiano Ronaldo.
United needed a significant boost after a humiliating 5-0 loss to Liverpool last weekend, during which Ronaldo was often isolated.
Solskjaer, who has faced much speculation about his future, opted to deploy Edinson Cavani up front alongside Ronaldo and the decision proved to be inspired, with both players on the scoresheet before substitute Marcus Rashford added a third goal.
Gary Neville feels Cristiano Ronaldo is adapting well to Manchester United’s 5-3-2 formation
Neville stated that Ronaldo improved a lot after his struggles in the loss to Liverpool.
The result sent United up to fifth place, but Neville insisted there is still a lot of work to be done and expressed frustration that it took Solskjaer so long to find the right formula.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Neville said: ‘I’m amazed it took six, seven, eight weeks of poor performances, an inept attitude to defend without the ball, and why the coach was on the brink of capture and Loss 5- 0 to Liverpool to get in shape. I don’t know why it took so long, but they certainly did something today; working hard as a team without the ball.
“I have not liked the body language in the last three or four games. The manager doesn’t seem like he can shock them. It seems that something has happened this week where they have joined.
“Today it has been shown that they can put together some kind of performance. Why did United think they could put pressure on Liverpool? Today was a decent start, but it doesn’t leave anyone out of the rush. They have games against Atalanta and City. ‘
Neville questioned why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took so long to change his team’s tactics
There were concerns that when Ronaldo was deployed up front alone, he had a detrimental effect on the defensive team due to his lack of pressure.
However, switching to a two-man attack seems to be the way to go for United, while Raphael Varane, who returned from injury, entered well as part of all three defenders.
Ronaldo’s goal against Tottenham, which put United ahead, was of a very high level, as he volleyed at the far post. He then prepared Cavani to make it 2-0.
Neville continued: ‘Varane did that job well today. I thought the midfielders were more confident to press. The big difference is that Cavani and Ronaldo are closer to midfield. There has been a massive change this week. Why did it take really bad performances to get to that point? ‘.
Ronaldo endured a frustrating moment against Liverpool but responded well against Tottenham
Neville dismissed suggestions that Ronaldo should be left out in some games, saying the Portugal international seemed much happier against Tottenham than he did in the Liverpool game, when he “looked like a little kid.”
He said: ‘If you have someone like Ronaldo in the locker room you have to put him in the team. Leaving Sancho, Greenwood and Rashford on the bench is not the plan. He has played 4-2-3-1 in the last seven games, but Ronaldo liked the change in system. Seeing him alone in front of Liverpool, he looked like a little boy. ”
Jadon Sancho, meanwhile, has had a difficult time since joining United from Borussia Dortmund and the winger was an unused substitute against Tottenham.
Edinson Cavani (R) bonded well with Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes (L) also had an impact
Neville warned the 21-year-old that he could end up like Donny van de Beek, who has been on the fringes of proceedings since joining United.
Neville said: ‘I can’t help but think of van de Beek. Sancho, if you’re not careful, it’s going to end exactly the same. You have arrived at a club that seems completely disjointed. There is no organization, there is no structure. In fact, you are making a change. You must be sitting on that bench, thinking where is my career at Manchester United? ‘.
Neville warned Jadon Sancho that he could end up as Donny van de Beek with lack of playing time
Solskjaer will have to carefully manage his best players before the Manchester derby
It’s an important week for United, with the Champions League at Atalanta on Tuesday, followed by the Manchester derby at Old Trafford four days later.
Neville was eager to point out that despite their win against Tottenham, United still have a lot of work to do to change their overall situation.
Solskjaer will have to put his squad to good use against Atalanta and make sure he has his best team ready to take on City.
Neville said: ‘He won’t be able to play that team in all three games, but they have Rashford, they have Greenwood. Lingard can log in. You must first choose your team for City and get at least one point in Atalanta. The City game has alarm bells. They have to prepare for that, but make sure you treat Atalanta with respect. ‘