Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he will carefully manage Cristiano Ronaldo’s playing time but has to balance that with getting the 36-year-old Portugal forward settled into the side. Ronaldo, who has rejoined United after 12 years away, marked his comeback at Old Trafford with two goals in Saturday`s 4-1 Premier League win over Newcastle United.
United return to action in Tuesday’s (September 14) opening Champions League group stage match against Swiss club Young Boys and Solskjaer said he would not rule out resting Ronaldo.
“It’s not impossible to leave him out,” Solskjaer said. “He is 36. Mason (Greenwood) is 19 so it’s the same, I have to manage his minutes and I have to manage a 36-year-old’s minutes as well.
“The other thing with Cristiano is that he looks after himself so much so I know he will recover quickly and he has had a pre-season. Of course, it’s important that we get everyone up and running and to get him up and running and to give him 90 minutes.”
United are joint top of the Premier League on 10 points after four matches. They travel to West Ham United on Sunday for their next league match.
Ronaldo has scored nearly 800 goals for club and country and won numerous trophies in a 19-year carer but the Portuguese forward admitted having butterflies in his stomach ahead of his second debut at Manchester United on Saturday.
Ronaldo, who scored 118 goals for United during his first stint, netted twice on his return in a 4-1 win over Newcastle United at Old Trafford that sent the Manchester club to the top of the Premier League standings.
“I was really nervous, maybe I did not show it,” Ronaldo told Sky Sports as he was serenaded by the United fans. “The reception was incredible. I was thinking last night that I wanted to show I`m still capable of helping the team. When I started the game, I was super nervous when they were singing my name but this crowd is unbelievable.”
Ronaldo, who won eight major trophies with United, has rejoined the club that has failed to win the league title since they last lifted it in 2013 under his former manager Alex Ferguson. The Portuguese forward said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has the tools to win the league as well as the Champions League but added the team needed maturity.
Find out what other UEFA records Cristiano Ronaldo has sethttps://t.co/k8vynSr4lz
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) September 12, 2021
“We have a fantastic team, a young team and a fantastic coach,” Ronaldo said. “But... we have to build up confidence. The team needs to be mature if it wants to win the Premier League and Champions League. I think we are in a good way, we have to win games, build up the confidence, build up the team and I am here to help the team.”
(with Reuters inputs)