Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has responded to the claims that Cristiano Ronaldo is proving to be detrimental to his team due to his lack of running off the ball.

Whilst Ronaldo has rescued Solskjaer’s side in recent week, particularly in the Champions League worth a brace of winning goals against Villareal and Atalanta, scrutiny of his performances have become more intense.

The main question being, would United need Ronaldo’s late heroics if he was in the team in the first place?

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The Portuguese forwards pressing was visibly more frequent and intense in Wednesday’s comeback win against Atalanta, this came days after a poor showing at Leicester.

At 36-years-old, there is no doubt that it would be incredibly difficult, even for a supremely-fit Ronaldo, to keep that up throughout the campaign. So the question remains on whether the forward is hampering this United side?

However, Solskjaer has backed his frontman to keep it up and claims that he is still building up his fitness.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the Norwegian said: “When Cristiano came to us, he’d not had a proper pre-season at Juventus and you can see he’s gradually getting fitter and fitter.

“Now he feels: I’m getting towards the level I know I can be’.

“Wednesday night, the focus, the physical effort, the run… he had the highest amount of sprints, the longest sprint distance, the longest high-intensity distance.

“We talk about players who run a lot, he does as much as them. If people want to criticise his work ethic, that’s completely wrong. You see him running down the channels, which he has to do as a centre forward.

“He does the work that we want him to do for the team. Of course, the team, when you have a player like him, you’ve got to get the best out of him, but he knows he’s part of the jigsaw of that team and he’s been brilliant.”

Solskjaer and Ronaldo take on Liverpool on Sunday as Jurgen Klopp’s high-flying Reds travel to Old Trafford to try to extend their lead over their rivals.

In-form Salah will be looking to carry on his incredible goal scoring run and Solskjaer understands that United will have to be resolute to stop them.

“They will give us problems, definitely. But we need to find solutions, we need to be compact, but it’s in the key moments.

“Some of the goals Salah has scored lately has been pure brilliance. In the moments, the big players turn up.”


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