Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took a strange decision in the match against Everton on Saturday. The Norwegian manager chose to start Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench against the Toffees. Solskjaer started a front four of Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani instead. There was no place for Jadon Sancho, Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting XI, despite the 5-time Ballon d'Or winner being the most impressive player for United this season.
Why did Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bench Cristiano Ronaldo?
After scoring a 94th-minute winner against Villarreal in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League game, many were surprised to see Cristiano Ronaldo's name excluded from the starting team for Manchester United on Saturday. Especially with Solskjaer facing pressure over a dismal performance in domestic competitions that has see them fail to pick up points at Old Trafford in their last 2 games. The last time United won in the EPL at the Old Trafford was when Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace against Newcastle United.
However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explained that he chose to put Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench because he needed to rotate his team and also keep the Portuguese talisman fresh for other matches. Solskjaer noted that it is going to be a long season with so many matches to play and so other players need to get playing time. Thus, the manager used both Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial who hadn't played so many matches this season. Martial scored United's only goal of the match before Andros Townsend equalised for the Toffees.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo's benching cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his job?
There have been rumours of discontent in the United camp with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's tactics and team selection. After United crashed out of the Carabao Cup against West Ham United, there were rumours that Cristiano Ronaldo was angry that he was left out of the match. The 36-year-old is known to be relentless and always wants to play matches and score goals.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 5 goals so far for Manchester United in all competitions this season. Manchester United has either drawn or lost all the matches they've played this season where Cristiano Ronaldo has not played the full 90 minutes. With Zinedine Zidane, Antonio Conte and Brendan Rodgers waiting in the wings for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's job, the manager needs to solve the dilemma of playing Cristiano Ronaldo in all matches if he's to stand a chance of keeping his job.