He has five goals in six games in Manchester United’s comeback. But when it comes to pushing opponents into open play, Cristiano Ronaldo (36) is at the bottom of the Premier League.
– Ronaldo does one click and then he does. It doesn’t work out when there’s team pressure and hard work, and it can be a challenge for Solskjaer, says Oyvind Eddy.
Eddy is the sporting director at Norges Toppidrettsgymnas and writes tactical analysis for the supportive Norwegian club Manchester United on United.no.
Under Solskjaer, United had a very good press match. They are very tight in pressure when they lunge high, and this requires them to run often and aggressively. You see when Cavani went into the previous game, he chased the balls away and that’s how the team gets. Ronaldo does not have the same press game and will never be the player to refer to Cavani. Eddy says that after that a lot of United’s defense collapses.
Ahead of Saturday’s match between Manchester United and Everton, Athletic published an article showing that Cristiano Ronaldo is the attacking player who has pushed opponents to the lowest level in open play for players who have played 270 minutes or more (the equivalent of three full games) in the Premier League.
In the wake of Wednesday’s extra win over Villarreal in the Champions League, it was Cavani’s press match that became central before Ronaldo’s extra-time hit.
Statistics from the previous season of the Premier League also showed that Cavani was the Manchester United striker who played 1,000 minutes or more in the Premier League who pressed the opponent more than once during the match (13.73 times in an average of 90 minutes), closely followed by Mason. Greenwood (13.02 per 90), Marcus Rashford (10.65 per 90) and Anthony Martial (9.02 per 90).
By comparison, Ronaldo pushed his opponents an average of 2.67 times in 90 minutes in his first Premier League game.
Danny Higginbotham, who has played 210 games in the Premier League and has played for Manchester United, Sunderland, Southampton, Derby and Stoke, among others, wrote on Twitter that he did not understand why these stats were receiving so much attention.
As he got older, he changed his playing style to ensure he would be the best when the ball reached him. Conserving his energy is the reason he has scored five goals in five games, he wrote before the Everton game.
Eddy is also aware that Ronaldo is adding extreme qualities to the offensive game.
– He has some qualities within 16 meters of the opponent that probably no one else in the world has, but they should learn to use them and recognize Ronaldo’s movements in front of goal, Eddy believes.
Ronaldo started off the bench in Saturday’s game against Everton, but he has been on the field for the past half hour, when Everton equalized and near the end the disqualification was three points away.
He and I (Ronaldo) understand more than experts, for example. It’s about choosing the right moments when you play with him and when not with him. He is no longer a small pony, but as usual he is professional and ready to come. Solskjaer tells the BBC that he came today with strength and good behaviour.
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