Former Ajax defender Danny Blind says Cristiano Ronaldo’s return has left Manchester United playing out of their ‘familiar pattern’.
As you’ll be aware, Ronaldo made a sensational return to Old Trafford this summer, securing a move from Juventus late in the window.
The Portuguese superstar has started his second United spell in fine form, with five goals in seven games in all competitions so far.
Those goals have come despite Manchester United struggling for results, having recently lost to Aston Villa and Young Boys, drawn with Everton and only narrowly beat Villarreal.
Part of the problem has been adapting to Ronaldo’s presence in the team, with the 36-year-old a very different player to Edinson Cavani, who filled the striker role last season.
That’s left Manchester United having to change how they work, particularly defensively, where Ronaldo is not as active a participant as his Uruguayan counterpart.
And that’s something Blind believes is a problem, explaining as much in a recent analysis of the clash with Villarreal.
“Ronaldo doesn’t really need to play an active role,” Sportnieuws report him saying.
“Like: ‘take your time’. You also see the other players looking at you like, ‘how are we going to solve it then?’
“Normally, the striker runs from one central defender to the other. This caused a lot of miscommunication.
“Now, they are not playing in their familiar pattern. When the ball was deflected, you saw Paul Pogba coaching that they had to put all the pressure on.
“Ronaldo did not do that; he is not like that. He only thinks about goals and hopes others will conquer the ball.”