football

Cristiano Ronaldo stole the show but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should make bold Man Utd call


Not for the first time Cristiano Ronaldo was the hero at Old Trafford, but while he bagged the all-important late winner, it was his team-mate who arguably made the greater contribution

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hails ‘best in the world’ David De Gea after Villarreal win

Everyone knew it would happen and if he keeps scoring winners in the dying seconds, then there really is not much of a problem.

Manchester United is the Cristiano Ronaldo show.

And when he popped up to squeeze in that clinching goal against Villarreal, the television producers were as interested in zooming in on Sir Alex Ferguson as they were on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United are back in the Fergie-Ronaldo era.

Which is fine if it keeps producing results like it did on Wednesday at Old Trafford, rather than the results it produced against Young Boys and Aston Villa.

Five goals in five appearances tells you all you need to know. When the chance to bring Ronaldo back materialised, it was a no-brainer.

But while it is fine if his return keeps producing results like it did on Wednesday at Old Trafford, it is not fine if it keeps producing performances like it did against Villarreal.








Cristiano Ronaldo bagged the important winner but was largely absent during the rest of the game
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Image:

Getty Images)



Solskjaer, as he always is, was frank about the display. He said United had got ‘lucky’.

But it was not all luck and it was not all Ronaldo magic.

Edinson Cavani, the man who gave up his number for Ronaldo, changed the game.

From the moment he came on as a 75th minute substitute, he rattled Villarreal.

But that should surprise no-one. Cavani is one of the world’s greatest centre-forwards.

Check out his scoring record. He is a class act.





Yet Solskjaer has a problem. When Cavani was persuaded to stay for another year, Ronaldo was not on the radar.

Now Ronaldo is at Old Trafford, he has to start every meaningful game. For a start, the important people up in the stands, including Sir Alex, would probably demand it.

And it is hard to argue against it. Solskjaer left Ronaldo on the field when he was doing precious little of any worth against Villarreal and you know what happened.

But at some stage, Solskjaer needs to make his mark on this United team.

It has been almost three years and there is still a feeling that the jury is still out on Solskjaer.








Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should make Edinson Cavani a pivotal part of his plans for Man Utd
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Image:

PA)



Perhaps one or two bold calls would help people make up their minds.

And a bold call would be to make Cavani front and centre of this Manchester United side.

Put it this way, if Cavani can only make the United bench, it must be one hell of a starting eleven.

But Solskjaer has always seemed a little less than enthusiastic about making him an automatic choice.

Cavani made as many appearances as a substitute in the Premier League last season as he did as a starter.




Yet Cavani’s game matches up with any of the central strikers acknowledged as the world’s best.

Not least of his attributes is his work-rate. The clip of him chasing down a lost cause on Wednesday has gone viral and understandably so.

It was the type of pressing from the front that characterises so many of the elite teams.

He is also a phenomenal header of the ball – which makes the miss against Villarreal so surprising – and a wonderful finisher, his 40-yard effort against Fulham last season being Exhibit A.

In short, he is world class.

However he gets the Uruguayan into the team, Solskjaer needs to do it.

Cavani is too good to be a fringe player.


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