Cristiano Ronaldo’s lack of pressing has led to some criticism recently, but former Portugal winger Luis Figo says the blame lies elsewhere at Manchester United
Ronaldo is United’s top scorer this season with 10 goals in 14 games across all competitions.
That tally puts him six ahead of Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood, who have both managed to find the back of the net on four occasions.
However, while Ronaldo’s goal output has not been questioned by pundits and fans, the team’s poor performances have increased scrutiny on the 36-year-old.
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The team have been hugely inconsistent, leading many pundits, including former United defender Gary Neville, to attribute some of the blame to Ronaldo for a perceived lack of work rate off the ball.
Many believe that Ronaldo’s lack of pressing from the front adds to the team’s lack of cohesion, but former Portugal winger Figo believes the blame lies elsewhere.
“[It] does not make sense. He is the best,” the 49-year-old told A Bola.
“Football lives on results and the team is not achieving the expected results.
“But he’s being one of the best in the team in terms of performance, so I don’t understand these criticisms.”
Ronaldo continued his fine goal scoring form in the Champions League on Tuesday by netting in United’s important 2-0 win over Villarreal in Michael Carrick’s first game in interim charge of the side.
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The strike means Ronaldo has now scored six times in just five Champions League matches this season, with his late goals against Atalanta and in the first tie against Villarreal his stand-out moments.
However, with United eighth in the Premier League and with just one win to their name since mid-September, John Barnes believes Ronaldo is affecting the balance of the side.
“You need players to run around when they’re not scoring. There’s no point scoring one and conceding two. That’s why the balance of the team should be important.
“The way Ronaldo is playing in terms of his goal scoring is fantastic but when they don’t have the ball, he’s part of a front four who don’t work defensively.
“There’s no point saying that just because he’s scoring goals, we’re happy with him.”
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Ronaldo’s role in the side could be about to change, with Ralf Rangnick poised to take over from Carrick as United’s interim manager.
Rangnick has reportedly agreed a deal until May with the club, with the 63-year-old then due to step aside into a two-year consultation role.
The German coach is known as the godfather of gegenpressing due to his work with Hannover, Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig, meaning a change in playing style could be in the pipeline at Old Trafford.