Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explains Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence against West Ham

Cristiano Ronaldo was left out of Manchester United’s squad to face West Ham (Picture: Getty)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted it wasn’t ‘possible’ for Cristiano Ronaldo to play in every game after leaving the veteran attacker out of his squad for Manchester United’s Carabao Cup third-round tie against West Ham.

The Norwegian made 11 changes to the team that beat the Hammers in the Premier League at the weekend, with the likes of Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard all given an opportunity to impress from the start at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo has been in red-hot form in front of goal since rejoining United in the summer transfer window, scoring three goals in his opening two matches, but the iconic Portuguese will have no impact on this evening’s proceedings.

The Red Devils play host to Aston Villa in just three days time and it appears Solskjaer will look to wrap the five-time Ballon d’Or winner up in cotton wool whenever possible over the course of a long season.

Asked whether it was a good night for Ronaldo to put his feet up, Solskjaer told Sky Sports: ‘Yeah, you know, he’s come in and made a difference already.

‘But, of course, it’s going to be a long season.

‘He wants to play as much as possible but I don’t think that is possible.’

Solskjaer admitted changing his entire starting XI was a ‘bit of risk’, with a place in the fourth round of the competition at stake at the Theatre of Dreams.

‘If you’re going to be successful at the end, you need the whole squad and you need the squad minutes to be shared out,’ he added.

‘Of course, it’s a bit of a risk when you make so many changes but there have been a couple of behind-closed-doors games during international breaks and the team has looked a little bit like this.

‘So hopefully we’ll find the rhythm, find the tempo in the passing and create chances.’

Speaking on talkSPORT earlier this week, ex-Arsenal and England midfielder Ray Parlour said Ronaldo’s age meant he would have to be managed carefully by Solskjaer over the coming months.

‘It’s just the recovery time,’ he said.

‘The thing Ole has got to do with Ronaldo is get him out there for the first hour, do the business, get a goal, do whatever you got to do for the first hour and then we take you off. Rest him for the last half an hour if possible.

‘Is he better to come off the bench or start the game? He’s got to start the game for me.’

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