Man United: 2020/21 video proves Cristiano Ronaldo isn't to blame for pressing woes


Is Cristiano Ronaldo really presenting more problems than solutions for Manchester United right now?

The 36-year-old returned to Old Trafford in the summer to much excitement from the club’s fans.

And, from the viewpoint of being paid to put the ball into the back of the net, he’s doing very well. Ronaldo has five goals in seven appearances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

Is Ronaldo a problem?

However, there’s a narrative forming in some parts that the Portuguese superstar is hindering United more than he’s actually helping them.


Gary Neville spoke about it on The Overlap, drawing on his experience of playing with Ronaldo to explain how the attacker was never going to improve United’s pressing from the front.

“You couldn’t carry him in the big games because he generally doesn’t work hard enough,” Neville said.

“So he’s playing up front now – you’re never going to press from the front. So the idea that Manchester United can become a pressing team with Cristiano up front is never going to happen. He wasn’t pressing 10-15 years ago.”

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When did Cristiano Ronaldo make his debut for Manchester United?

United’s press before Ronaldo arrived

Alan Shearer highlighted United‘s pressing woes on Match of the Day following their 4-2 defeat against Leicester City at the weekend, while The Athletic’s Michael Cox penned a post-match analysis that explained “why Ronaldo is giving Solskjaer a huge tactical problem”.

Cox wrote: “He is 36 and, in stark contrast to title rivals whose forwards press relentlessly, Ronaldo simply doesn’t have the physical capacity to repeatedly press – or really, to press at all.”

However, a supporter has shared a video of United’s press prior to Ronaldo’s return – and it does little to suggest that the former Real Madrid and Juventus man is actually causing an issue.

The clip comes from United’s Europa League content at home to AC Milan in March. Solskjaer’s team try to press but the Italians are able to work the ball out from the back through to midfield without any trouble.

You can see in the video that there is no real strategy to United’s press. They go as individuals – it’s not orchestrated and Milan simply pass and move their way forwards.

So is Ronaldo really the biggest issue? Perhaps he’s not helping the situation, but on this evidence, the cause of the problems mostly rest on the manager’s soldiers.

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