Manchester United caretaker boss Michael Carrick has hinted at a change of policy after opting to bench Cristiano Ronaldo for Sunday’s clash with Chelsea.
Ronaldo, 36, has endured a heavy workload since returning to Old Trafford from Juventus in the summer. The Portugal skipper has started eight Premier League games among nine appearances. He has also started all five of the Red Devils Champions League matches this term.
The former Real Madrid star has found the net with regularity, bagging 10 times in all competitions. Four of those have come in the league but it was not enough to save Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his job.
The Norwegian has now departed after failing to get the desired results this term. He promised a reaction after a heavy defeat to Liverpool and one-sided loss to Manchester City.
But they lost 4-1 at home to Watford and the writing was on the wall for Solskjaer. Carrick has been put in temporary charge until Ralf Rangnick takes over until the end of the season.
And the former United midfielder has made a big call in what may be one of his final games in charge. He has left the legend out of his starting XI to face the table-topping Blues at Stamford Bridge.
Trusted transfer guru Fabrizio Romano took to Twitter ahead of the match to reveal Carrick’s thoughts on the issue.
“A few tweaks and changes to freshen things up,” Carrick said. “Anthony and Donny (benched) too and Cristiano Ronaldo is your standout name.
“I have had a good chat with Cristiano and he was great.”
Ronaldo not behind United slump
There have been many reasons put forward by pundits as to why Solskjaer could not get the best out of his star-studded side. One of the main gripes was a lack of pressing by Ronaldo, leaving the midfield and defence exposed too often.
There have been calls for any new manager to sell the superstar. But former Real and Portugal ace Luis Figo does not agree.
“[It] does not make sense. He is the best,” the 49-year-old told A Bola. “Football lives on results and the team is not achieving the expected results.
“But he’s being one of the best in the team in terms of performance, so I don’t understand these criticisms.”