Solskjaer facing Ronaldo-Cavani ‘conundrum’ says Gary Neville

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United is consoled by Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo
Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United is consoled by Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo

Gary Neville believes that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is facing a Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani “conundrum” following Manchester United’s loss at Leicester City.

The former Manchester United defender has stated that his former side have a long list of issues to sort including the form of Jadon Sancho, who they signed in the summer.

Solskjaer’s side extended their winless run in the Premier League to three matches after they were beaten 4-2 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday. United took the lead through Mason Greenwood, but goals from Youri Tielemans, Caglar Soyuncu, Jamie Vardy and Patson Daka sealed a memorable victory for Leicester.

The loss ended a run of 29 games without defeat away from home for the Red Devils with Ronaldo, who was restored to Solskjaer’s starting XI cutting a frustrated figure in the final third. 

As a result, Neville has suggested that Ronaldo’s lack of pressing off the ball leaves the Red Devils short defensively. With Cavani waiting in the wings on the bench, the Sky Sports pundit thinks Solskjaer now has a real selection dilemma on his hands.

Neville also suggested that the likes of Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho are failing to live up to the required standard, pointing out that both Liverpool and Manchester City are well ahead of United when it comes to “work ethic”.

“They’ve got this real conundrum with Pogba and Fernandes, they’ve got this real conundrum with Ronaldo and Cavani, another conundrum with Greenwood, Rashford and Sancho,” Neville told Sky Sports. 

“You put all these teams into a unit when out of possession, and those players’ strengths aren’t out of possession.

“The great players are able to do it in both ways, but they’re biased towards the attacking side of the game. What Manchester United’s star players need is to have the work ethic of Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, and Sadio Mane. World-class players who work like absolute dogs in every game. I don’t see that among United’s most talented players.”

Although fans have begun losing patience with Solskjaer and are calling for the Norwegian to be sacked, Neville believes that he won’t be sacked. He is also backing his former teammate to find the right balance as in his world-class squad.

“The pressure will build on the manager and the pressure will build on the players,” he added. 

“They won’t do anything with the manager. Ultimately, I think the club are stable in this respect in what’s happened in the last 10 years. I think they recognise that they are going to go through these moments.

“They are integrating [Raphael] Varane, Sancho and Ronaldo and I feel they’ll see it through, but there is massive pressure. It’s not coming. It’s here. It was there before the international break and it’s not going to go away. It should be there. It’s Manchester United. They’ve spent a fortune and they’ve got some of the best players in the world.”