Manchester United boss Michael Carrick has insisted that Cristiano Ronaldo can dispel the “myth” that the Portugese superstar cannot play in a pressing team. New Red Devils interim head coach Ralf Rangnick is renowned for adopting a high-energy style.
Ronaldo has faced criticism this term for his supposed inability to press opposition defenders.
The legendary forward was even dropped for the 1-1 Premier League draw with Chelsea on Sunday, instead being used a second-half substitute.
Carrick implied that Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes had been selected to play in the front line due to their ability to win the ball high up the pitch.
“I thought the front three did that ever so well and stopped them playing little passes through the middle into Jorginho. They’re good at that,” the 40-year-old said.
Rangnick’s appointment until the end of the season has prompted suggestions that Ronaldo, who returned to United in the summer after 12 years away, might struggle to get into the German’s preferred team.
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However, Carrick has played down that debate.
The former midfielder has pointed out that Ronaldo has proved his versatility during his incredible trophy-laden career.
“You just said it’s a myth. Maybe it is a myth. Maybe that’s how it is,” Carrick told journalists.
“He’s played in enough teams over the years, being successful, to play in a variety of ways and kept scoring goals for every team.
“I’m sure he’ll continue to score goals, there’s no doubt about that.”
Carrick’s selection for the weekend’s game at Stamford Bridge prompted United legend Gary Neville to argue that it was actually Rangnick who picked the team.
Ronaldo had only been a substitute in one other Premier League fixture since his return – the 1-1 draw with Everton in October.
Carrick, who is set to remain in charge for the Red Devils’ clash with Arsenal on Thursday, has insisted that the 36-year-old was content with the decision to name him on the bench.
He continued: “There are a lot of things you have to take into consideration when you make a decision on picking a team.
“Some players bring things to the table, other players bring other things to the table. You have fitness, tiredness, freshness, there’s tactics, there’s personality and character within that.
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“It seems like it’s a big decision but really, between us and me personally, it wasn’t. You can ask Cristiano, the way he responded was perfect, really.
“Around the dressing room he was incredible, he supported the players.
“I went in to do my half-time team talk and he was warming up 10 minutes in advance, ready to come on in the second-half.
“I think a lot can be made of it and spinning it in a negative way, but behind the scenes and the reality is very different.”