Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has insisted he is not bothered by Sir Alex Ferguson’s comments over his decision to bench Cristiano Ronaldo for the 1-1 draw against Everton earlier this month. Eyebrows were raised when the 36-year-old Portuguese star was named as a substitute for the encounter.
And the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was believed to have been left furious by the decision when he was told he would not be starting ahead of the game.
Although he came on as a second-half substitute, Ronaldo was unable to make much of an impression as his side were unable to find a winner.
United legend Ferguson was seen in conversation with celebrity fan and UFC star Khabib Nurmangomedov at full-time at Old Trafford, and could be heard saying: “You should always start your best players.”
The result has increased the pressure on Solskjaer, who desperately needs a win when his team take on Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
The Red Devils have won just two of their last six games in all competitions, and a bad result against the Foxes would really see Solskjaer coming under heavy scrutiny.
Speaking at his press conference ahead of the encounter, however, Solskjaer appeared calm and confident of getting the three points.
And when asked about Ferguson’s comments he insisted he was not taking them too seriously, saying: “I’m quite relaxed about it. I disagreed with the gaffer quite a few times and I told my wife quite a few times that I disagreed with him, but that never made headlines as a player.
“I’m sure Sir Alex knows that it doesn’t bother me. We all want to see Cristiano. We all want to, because he’s unique, he’s different, he’s had a career and everyone wants to come and watch him.
“But the plain fact of it is he cannot play every single game that we play, that’s just physical nature, human nature.
“He knows how difficult this job is anyway, the gaffer. He didn’t always play the same eleven.
“He took some risks at times to rest Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney or David Beckham, the best players that we had. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.”
Ronaldo will surely be back in the starting XI for Saturday’s match, but United have a number of worries at the back.
Raphael Varane is almost certainly out after picking up a knock on international duty with France.
And Harry Maguire is also still a doubt, meaning Solskjaer could be forced to choose a lesser-seen centre-back pairing of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof.
Marcus Rashford, however, could play for the first time this season after making a full recovery from his shoulder surgery.