Cristiano Ronaldo should have started against Everton, says Sir Alex Ferguson

  • Comments made to MMA fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov
  • United drew 1-1 to continue their recent indifferent form

Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s decision to use Cristiano Ronaldo as a substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Everton has been criticised by the Manchester United manager’s own mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ronaldo was on the bench until the 57th minute. United were leading 1-0 when he came on, only for Everton to score an equaliser through Andros Townsend as United’s recent indifferent form continued.

In a video that emerged on Twitter Ferguson, who played a significant role in bringing Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, is heard to question Solskjær’s team selection.

Filmed talking to the former mixed martial arts champion and United fan Khabib Nurmagomedov in the directors’ lounge at Old Trafford after the Premier League match, Ferguson appears to suggest Ronaldo should have started.

“I also think that when they saw Ronaldo wasn’t playing …” says Ferguson. He is then interrupted by the Russian, who says: “He came on in the second half.” Ferguson follows that up by saying: “I know but you should always start with your best players.”

United have won one of their past four matches, when Ronaldo scored a late winner in the Champions League against Villarreal last week. Questions have been raised about Solskjær’s continuing suitability as a successor to Ferguson, who won 13 Premier League titles and the Champions League twice at the club.

Solskjær, who played under Ferguson from 1996 to 2007, and United’s manager since December 2018, has made great play of his relationship with his former boss, frequently harking back to working under the 79-year-old who is now a director and club ambassador. As yet, he has been unable to lift a trophy, with United losing in last season’s Europa League final to Villarreal on penalties.

Mike Phelan, Ferguson’s assistant in his later years, has been handed a new deal until June 2024, the length of his contract matching that of Solskjær, who signed a similar extension in July

Phelan returned to the club to work alongside Solskjær when the Norwegian replaced José Mourinho, initially as an interim appointment before the position was made permanent later in the 2018-19 season.

Handing Phelan that deal suggests the Glazer family ownership’s satisfaction with the current managerial setup, despite recent results.

Ronaldo, a five-times Ballon d’Or winner, has scored five goals in six appearances since his return to the club he first played for from 2003 to 2009.


John Brewin

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Sir Alex Ferguson offers Ole Gunnar Solskjær helping hand at United
Sir Alex Ferguson provided encouragement and pep talks to Ole Gunnar Solskjær and his Manchester United staff

Louise Taylor

31, Dec, 2018 @10:30 PM

Article image
Sir Alex Ferguson holds out hope of re-signing Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo would be more than welcome back in a Manchester United shirt, according to Sir Alex Ferguson

Jamie Jackson

21, Dec, 2012 @11:01 PM

Article image
Marcus Rashford can be as good as Cristiano Ronaldo, says Solskjær
Marcus Rashford is having his most prolific season at Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjær said it is very easy to compare him and Cristiano Ronaldo

Ed Aarons

09, Dec, 2019 @10:30 PM

Article image
Sir Alex Ferguson not fazed by Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez

Shows of dissent by Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez in Manchester United's 2-0 win over Manchester City failed to upset Sir Alex Ferguson

Daniel Taylor at Old Trafford

10, May, 2009 @7:41 PM

Article image
Alex Ferguson warns Cristiano Ronaldo against moving to Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo will win more trophies at United than Real Madrid, Sir Alex Ferguson has warned

Daniel Taylor at Old Trafford

17, May, 2009 @7:49 PM

Article image
We don't need Cristiano Ronaldo, insists Manchester United's manager Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson believes his side can adequately handle the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo

Tim Rich

14, Aug, 2009 @9:00 PM

Article image
Rivals have turned referees against Manchester United, says Solskjær
Ole Gunnar Solskjær was upset after his team were denied penalty against Chelsea and hit out at ‘cheeky’ coverage of United on the Chelsea website

Jacob Steinberg

28, Feb, 2021 @8:52 PM

Article image
Ole Gunnar Solskjær needs to be more than high priest of Fergianity | Jonathan Wilson
Manchester United’s new permanent manager has calmed nerves and brought back the spirit of 1999 but is inexperienced

Jonathan Wilson

28, Mar, 2019 @8:30 PM

Article image
'Chelsea have had it easy,' says Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson

The Manchester United manager has claimed that Chelsea's perfect start to the Premier League season has been helped by an easy fixture list

Daniel Taylor

17, Sep, 2010 @9:31 PM

Article image
How do Solskjær's side compare with Manchester United's last title winners? | Marcus Christenson
Manchester United are top of the league after 17 games for the first time since 2013 and while there are some similarities this team look on paper a better side

Marcus Christenson

13, Jan, 2021 @3:54 PM