Paul Merson sends advice to Man Utd over fixing Cristiano Ronaldo ‘problem’

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Merson thinks Ronaldo is creating a ‘problem’ on the pitch at United (Picture: Getty Images)

Paul Merson says Cristiano Ronaldo may need to be given a ‘free role’ or even be dropped as he has created a ‘problem’ for Manchester United on the pitch.

The Red Devils brought the five-time Ballon d’Or winner back to Old Trafford in the summer transfer window, 12 years after the conclusion of his glittering first stint at the club.

While Ronaldo has continued to find the back of the net on a regular basis, with nine goals across all competitions this season, the team in general have struggled of late.

Carrick is set to take charge on a temporary basis

Carrick is set to take charge on a temporary basis (Picture: Getty Images)

Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Watford proved to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s final match in charge at Old Trafford, as he was relieved of his duties less than 24 hours after the loss at Vicarage Road.

Michael Carrick will lead the team temporarily, while the club search for an interim manager to take charge until the end of the season.

Merson feels Solskjaer’s counter-attacking plan was spoiled when the club signed Ronaldo, and the Arsenal hero suggested that whoever is in the United dugout will have to solve the ‘problem’ caused by the Portugal international.

‘They chased [Jadon] Sancho for 18 months, they get him and he doesn’t play a game,’ Merson told Sky Sports.

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‘People are saying they didn’t need Sancho, but he was perfect for the way they played counter-attacking football. Now they can’t counter-attack, and the plan completely and utterly went out of the window.

‘It’s a problem going forward. The fans love Ronaldo, he’s the king. Don’t get me wrong, he’s been one of the best players in the world, but this is the Achilles heel. The bloke is a legend, with the records he’s put up, but that’s not today.

‘It’s alright people saying: “He’s done his job, he’s scored goals.” But United need to play as a team to win trophies, not have someone who stands up front and puts the ball in the net 20 times a season. They need a team.

‘He’s a legend. I’m not having a go at Ronaldo, and he’ll go down as one the best to ever play football.

‘But I got shot down from day one on Transfer Deadline Day. I got slaughtered for saying they were further away from winning the league the moment they signed him than they were before. It’s not Solskjaer’s fault – Solskjaer didn’t buy him!

‘I think they need to find a position for him, and maybe even give him a free role. I don’t know if you can keep him in the team, I don’t think they’re dominant enough in midfield, and without Raphael Varane in defence, they’re all over the place.’


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