Match of the Day pundits agree on Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo decision vs Everton
Match of the Day pundits Ian Wright and Danny Murphy have questioned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to leave Cristiano Ronaldo out of the starting 11 for Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Everton.
The Manchester United number seven was named on the bench alongside Paul Pogba for the clash at Old Trafford, though both came on as second-half substitutes as United searched for the win.
Anthony Martial gave United the lead just before half time, only for Andros Townsend to draw the Toffees level in the second half after an Everton counter-attack.
That is how the scoreline would stay until the full-time whistle with Ronaldo looking visibly annoyed as he left the pitch.
Speaking on Match of the Day on Saturday night, former Premier League striker Wright said that he couldn’t understand Solskjaer’s thinking behind the decision not to start Ronaldo.
He said: “Very surprised, simply because if you’ve got Cristiano Ronaldo, yes you do have to create a structure for him to fit in because [Edinson] Cavani works so hard, but he [Ronaldo] is not missing that header if he’s on the pitch.
“When you’ve got Cristiano Ronaldo, you have to build the team and structure around him, so it can work for him. Cavani presses, he closes down, his movement is great but I think, this is the kind of chance, if he [Ronaldo] is on the pitch, I don’t think he misses those chances.
“So whatever Ole is saying about what we’re saying as pundits, if you’ve got him in your team, a match-winner, and you can’t set it up for him to be playing in there, to do what he does, it’s ever likely he’s going to walk off the pitch like that.”
After the match, Solskjaer explained that the decision was about managing the’ players workloads .
“We’re talking about Cristiano Ronaldo being 36, if that’s the case then Cristiano Ronaldo wouldn’t walk off the pitch like that, he’s upset, he doesn’t lose,” Wright added.
“I haven’t seen him miss many games in his career up until this point.”
Fellow pundit Danny Murphy was in agreement and also questioned the decision to name Pogba on the bench as well as making a prediction for after the international break when United face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
“The other thing I’ve found strange too is that you’re not just taking out your best goalscorer, you actually started on the bench your best creator. Pogba and Ronaldo were left out,” Murphy said.
“Obviously, hindsight is a wonderful thing, I think it’s fair to say they’ll both be in the starting lineup next week, probably.”