Sir Alex Ferguson believes Cristiano Ronaldo should have started Manchester United’s game against Everton, and said his absence gave the Toffees a boost as they managed a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo started Saturday’s game on the bench, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his team needed to freshen up after their grueling “physical and emotional” win over Villarreal in the Champions League three days earlier.
Ronaldo was hired during the second half against Everton, when United were leading 1-0, but was unable to help them maintain the victory.
United have now won just two of their last six games and Ronaldo looked frustrated full time on Saturday, walking straight through the tunnel while muttering to himself.
Ferguson, who won 13 Premier League titles during his reign at United, was present at Old Trafford on Saturday and was filmed after the game speaking with UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov.
In a video posted on social media by the Russian, Ferguson is heard saying that Everton got a boost “when they saw that Ronaldo wasn’t playing.”
After Nurmagomedov, who retired with a 29-0 record last year, pointed out that Ronaldo entered the second half, the Scotsman replied: “Yes, I know … but you should always start with your best players.”
Manchester United does not comment on the story.
Ronaldo has scored five goals in six games since returning to United from Juventus this summer.
Ferguson first signed with the club when he was 18 at Sporting Lisbon in 2003, before being sold to Real Madrid for a world record fee six years later.
Ronaldo has said that Ferguson helped convince him to make his dramatic return to Old Trafford this summer.
Neville: Ronaldo’s departure puts pressure on Ole
Gary Neville says Ronaldo’s actions at Old Trafford only serve to increase the pressure on Manchester United manager Solskjaer.
“I watched the game and I watched it go. I can’t say I liked it,” Neville said on his latest podcast.
Download Gary Neville’s podcast at: Spotify | Apple | Castbox | Spreaker
“Is Cristiano upset when he doesn’t play? Yes. Is Cristiano upset when he doesn’t score? Yes. Is Cristiano upset when the team doesn’t win? Of course. We know those things. He doesn’t.” I have to prove that.
“He walks off the court, muttering to himself, which throws questions into the air. What is he saying? Who is he upset with? He can only go back to the coach.”
“Cristiano is smart enough to know that actions like that will put real pressure on the coach, more than he already has.
“It is what it is, but I think it is something that has to be managed in the coming months.
“Cristiano is not always going to score and he may not be able to play every game. But if he leaves like this, he is going to put immense pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.”