Cristiano Ronaldo’s first goal on Man Utd return in pictures
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has opened up on his decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo for today’s Premier League clash with Everton. The Portugal international has scored five goals in five matches since returning from Juventus. But he won’t be starting this afternoon’s contest at Old Trafford.
Manchester United have been hit and miss so far this season.
While they’ve won four of their opening Premier League matches, they’ve also lost three of their last five games across all competitions.
As a result, today’s contest with Everton is a big one.
Victory will see them move above Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table, while a defeat or draw will represent a setback to their trophy hopes.
United have chosen to omit Ronaldo from their starting XI, despite the Portugal international’s brilliant performances.
Express Sport understands it’s a decision that has enraged the veteran, who now feels angry towards Solskjaer as a result.
And Solskjaer has now opened up on that decision.
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“Well Wednesday night was a big effort, a big emotional and physical output,” he said.
“So we needed to freshen it up. When it’s an early kick off the start of this game is going to be important and we’ve got some very good players coming on as well.
“It’s a team we think is going to take charge of the game.”
Without Ronaldo, United have still chosen to go strong.
David De Gea starts in goal, with the Spain international back to his blockbuster best after struggling over the course of the past couple of seasons.
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In defence, United have gone with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw.
Scott McTominay, Fred and Bruno Fernandes make up the midfield.
And, in attack, United have gone with Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani.
Meanwhile, speaking after his Champions League heroics against Villarreal in midweek, Ronaldo admitted his team were fortunate to take all three points.
“It was a very, very difficult game,” he said. “Villarreal played so good.
“They had big chances. We found it a bit of a struggle because we knew it before the game, we must win the game.
“It was tough. I think we were a little bit nervous, first half and second half to be honest.
“But we had a bit of luck we didn’t have the last game. We had that today.”
Solskjaer hailed Ronaldo after that win, praising the former Juventus and Real Madrid star for his ruthlessness.
“He’s [Ronaldo] done that so many times,” Solskjaer said.
“When you saw him against the Republic of Ireland a few weeks ago [for Portugal], he missed a penalty early, didn’t touch the ball more or less and then scored two great headers in the last two minutes.
“That’s just what he’s done throughout his career. He’s so strong mentally.
“He stays in the game, I’ve seen him all day today, the way he’s built himself up for this game, how focused he’s been and when he gets that one chance, it’s a goal.
“But a true mark of a very good finisher is that he keeps calm when the chance arrives.
“He’s so good in front of goal and he has an impact on everyone – the crowd, the players, everyone.”
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