EPL

Solskjaer won't rule out Man Utd departures as Ronaldo 'was not signed to sit on the bench'

By Sports Desk August 29, 2021

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would not rule out Manchester United players leaving following the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, saying the Portugal star was "not signed to sit on the bench".

The Red Devils announced on Friday that they had agreed a deal with Juventus, reportedly worth an initial £12.8million (€15m), to bring the 36-year-old back to Old Trafford subject to personal terms, a visa and a medical.

The signing could not be completed in time for United's Premier League clash with Wolves on Sunday, which was settled by a Mason Greenwood strike in the 80th minute as Solskjaer's men set a new English league record of 28 away games unbeaten.

With an international break now coming up, Ronaldo's first chance to turn out for the club he left in 2009 is likely to be against Newcastle United at Old Trafford on September 11.

Solskjaer, who confirmed on Sky Sports that he intends to deploy Ronaldo more as a centre-forward than a wide player, hopes the new addition will be ready as soon as possible once the deal is concluded and he returns from Portugal duties.

"We need to get all the paperwork done. Hopefully we can get that sorted and announce it 100 per cent," Solskjaer said.

"He's away with Portugal, I think they've got three games, his last game is on the Tuesday, so get him back to Manchester with Bruno [Fernandes] and hopefully he'll be involved as soon as possible."

Ronaldo's comeback means United are stocked in attack and could look to offload some players before the transfer window closes.

Amad Diallo had been close to joining Feyenoord on loan, although an injury could reportedly scupper that move, while Jesse Lingard and Dan James have also been linked with departures.

"Of course, he [Ronaldo] was not signed to sit on the bench," said Solskjaer. "He's going to make us a better team, of course.

"There have been a couple of enquiries for some of our players and with the signing of Cristiano, we might give less playing time to a few.

"Dan is a Man United player at the moment."

United laboured for much of the first hour at Molineux and were indebted to a stunning double save from David de Gea to deny Romain Saiss shortly before Greenwood's winner.

"We got three points, get a clean sheet, on another day they might score one in the first half when Aaron [Wan-Bissaka] saves one off the line, or when David saves those two chances second half," Solskjaer said.

"With Mason, he's a special kid.  The boy is unique at hitting the target quickly: right foot, left foot, it doesn't matter to him.

"We've played better, definitely, but sometimes you've got to earn your luck and I thought we did."

Solskjaer was delighted with the performance of defender Raphael Varane, who was largely impeccable at the back and even earned an assist on his United debut.

"Top, top performance," Solskjaer said. "This was 'welcome to the Premier League': tempo, hustle-bustle, tackle, have to defend counter-attacks. He's good in the air, so composed on the ball and he's so experienced, nothing fazes him, and he was good in the dressing room before the game and at half-time.

"I'm delighted for him. I thought he showed his class."

Related items

  • Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla: Vinicius stunner seals victory for Ancelotti's men Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla: Vinicius stunner seals victory for Ancelotti's men

    Vinicius Junior's stunning late strike helped Real Madrid to a 2-1 win over Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

    Sevilla, led by former Los Blancos boss Julen Lopetegui, could have moved a point clear of Madrid at the top of the table with victory, and they got off to a fine start thanks to Rafa Mir's early header.

    Karim Benzema pulled the hosts level shortly after the half-hour mark, before Vinicius secured maximum points three minutes from full-time with a wonderful long-range drive.

    The result moved Carlo Ancelotti's men four points clear of Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad at the top of the table, with Sevilla a further point back in fourth.

    Sevilla went ahead in the 12th minute when an unmarked Mir headed Marcos Acuna's corner past Thibaut Courtois from 12 yards.

    The striker should have scored again just minutes later, but David Alaba cleared his initial effort off the line and Courtois got down well to block the follow-up.

    Lucas Ocampos hit the crossbar from distance as Sevilla sought to consolidate their lead, but Madrid pulled level when Benzema slotted into an empty net after Yassine Bounou had spilled Eder Militao's long-range strike onto the post.

    Marco Asensio whipped wide from 25 yards shortly before the hour mark, while Vinicius wastefully blazed over after a rapid counter-attack. 

    The Brazil international had the final say, though, cutting in from the left and fizzing a strike past Bounou from 22 yards to seal an important win.

  • Carrick awaits Rangnick news as Man Utd perk up to hold leaders Chelsea Carrick awaits Rangnick news as Man Utd perk up to hold leaders Chelsea

    Michael Carrick led Manchester United to a good point at Chelsea as he waited to learn whether that would be his first and last Premier League match as Red Devils manager.

    Jadon Sancho's opener against the run of play was cancelled out by Jorginho's penalty at Stamford Bridge, where caretaker boss Carrick named Cristiano Ronaldo as a substitute.

    United have a home match against Arsenal coming up on Thursday and that might be Ralf Rangnick's first game at the helm.

    Rangnick, currently working at Lokomotiv Moscow, is the man that United are targeting to lead them through until the end of the season, which is when they intend to make a more permanent appointment.

    The sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last Sunday followed a run of five defeats in seven Premier League games, fatally rupturing hopes of a title challenge.

    Speaking after the 1-1 draw with Chelsea, Carrick told a news conference he was unsure what would lie ahead for him.

    "As of now, I haven't got any more news for you really. I was purely focused on the game. There was enough in my head to prepare the boys for this," he said.

    "After the game, I'm sure I'll be updated and aware, and see what happens the next few days, but as of now I haven't got anything more to give you."

    Carrick told television interviewers there was no truth behind the theory his team selection was influenced by Rangnick.

    United harried Chelsea with more gusto than they have other teams of late, and got away from west London with a point despite coming under plenty of pressure.

    Chelsea led the shot count 24-3, had 66 per cent of possession, and the expected goals (xG) count told its own story. Based on the quality of chances each team had, Chelsea had an xG total of 2.54 and United managed 0.82, suggesting this was a missed opportunity for the hosts to inflict another defeat on their visitors.

    The decision to start with Ronaldo on the bench, rather than in his usual role as the focal point of the attack, was a move by Carrick that caught the eye.

    "Obviously, we came here with a plan," said Carrick, a long-serving former United midfielder.

    "I kind of knew how Chelsea were going to be playing. A lot of it was stopping the little passing moves they thread through to Jorginho and [Ruben] Loftus-Cheek through the middle of the pitch.

    "We were conscious of that. [We brought] a little freshness to the team, two or three changes and a couple of little tweaks and changes in tactics."

  • Ramos thrilled to be back in action after making PSG debut Ramos thrilled to be back in action after making PSG debut

    Paris Saint-Germain's Sergio Ramos reflected on "another learning experience" after finally making his long-awaited debut for his new club.

    Ramos signed for PSG as a free agent in July after ending a trophy-laden 16-year stint with Real Madrid.

    However, the 35-year-old was made to wait for his PSG bow, having to first overcome a calf issue that has plagued his year.

    After making the bench for Wednesday's Champions League defeat to Manchester City, Ramos started alongside Marquinhos in the heart of PSG's defence on Sunday, helping Mauricio Pochettino's team labour to a 3-1 win over 10-man Saint-Etienne in Ligue One.

    It was only the sixth appearance Ramos has made in all competitions across 2021 – the last time the centre-back played was in Madrid's defeat to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals in May. There had even been talk PSG were considering terminating the defender's contract.

    Ramos' appearances have totalled just 485 minutes, and he looked understandably rusty at times in the snow against Saint-Etienne.

    He was at least partly at fault for Denis Bouanga's opener when he failed to attack Wahbi Khazri's cross, though PSG battled back through two Marquinhos goals and Angel Di Maria's strike – all three of their goals teed up by Lionel Messi.

    Looking back on his debut, Ramos tweeted: "A win and a return to the pitch. You have no idea how I have longed for this! It has been a difficult few months.

    "Lots of uncertainty, lots of changes and, worst of all, the pain of not being able to do what I love most: play football. But that's all behind me now.

    "Another learning experience. It's time now to look forward with optimism and ambition.

    "Thank you to everyone who has been there with kind words and encouragement, especially my family whose support has always been unconditional. On we go, there's more to come!"

    Ramos finished the match with 101 passes, the most of any player, with 95 reaching their target (an accuracy of 94.1 per cent). 

    Only Di Maria (113) had more touches than Ramos' 110, while the Spain international won five of his seven duels, made three tackles and a joint team-high two interceptions.

    At 35 years and 243 days, Ramos became the oldest outfield player to make his first appearance for PSG in Ligue 1 since David Beckham (37 years and 298 days against Marseille in February 2013).

    While Ramos appears to have put his injury troubles behind him, PSG were dealt a blow late on, with Neymar having to be taken off on a stretcher.

    Replays showed the Brazil forward going over painfully on his left ankle, and he could be facing a long spell on the sidelines.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.