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Jurgen Klopp's warning about Cristiano Ronaldo is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's biggest problem
18/09/2021 10:57:33

Jurgen Klopp is widely regarded as one of the best tacticians in the Premier League.

And it seems Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going to have to take the Liverpool manager's advice on board if he is to fulfil Manchester United's potential and win a first Premier League title since 2013 this season.

Solskjaer is in an enviable position after one of the best transfer windows of any club in the history of the sport.

The Red Devils strengthened with three world-class players this summer; Jadon Sancho, who has the potential to be one of the best footballers on the planet, World Cup winner Raphael Varane, and, of course, arguably the greatest to ever do it, Cristiano Ronaldo.

But by the flip of a coin, Solskjaer is also in a high-pressured position as if he fails to win silverware this campaign he is surely on the proverbial chopping block come the end of the season.

Dimitar Berbatov recently warned Solskjaer of this fact in an interview with Mirror Football, saying: "The expectation is high.

"For the manager and for the whole team, but if the team is not performing we know who is going to take the blame in the end.

"The expectation is very high for Ole to win something. I am going also for the Premier League title because I want United to return to winning ways. It was 2013 the last time they won the title.

"So this year, if they don't win any silverware, it's going to be disappointing and a failure of a season in my opinion."

One of the most important jobs on Solskjaer's hands is getting the best out of five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo.

And in order to do that he must set up his Manchester United team to use the Portuguese poacher as the focal point.

Klopp was asked to provide an insight on his managerial style back in 2019 and name-dropped Ronaldo when making a point about attacking from the front.

Anyone who has ever seen a Klopp team in action will know the German is all about intense, high-pressing football.

And Klopp revealed that he'd expect any player in the world to adhere to his 'defend from the front' rules, except for two.

Klopp said: "As long as you're not Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi - you have to defend. Easy rules."

What Klopp says makes perfect sense, but it also highlights the fact that Ronaldo is a luxury player and unless he has adequate support - and teammates willing to do the donkey work around him - then his presence in the team isn't always positive.

Solskjaer was in the market for a holding midfielder this summer with Declan Rice at the top of his wishlist.

Rice is the only player he was unable to sign for United and, as a result, he now boasts a top-heavy team with the likes of Ronaldo, Sancho, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani all vying for game time.

Even United's midfield players are attack-minded with Bruno Fernandes, who is much better going forwards than backwards, and Paul Pogba, who will not entertain the idea of doing Ronaldo's dirty work for him.

Everyone wants to see lots of attacking players in the same team.

But as Paris Saint-Germain proved in the Champions League on Tuesday, drawing 1-1 with Club Brugge despite fielding Lionel Messi Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, having an attack comprised of the world's best on paper doesn't always translate on the pitch.

The best teams in history are the ones that have been able to find that balance between attack and defence.

And in order to get the best from Ronaldo, Solskjaer needs to find a way to stabilise his Manchester United side to enable Ronaldo to win him the title.

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