Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival at Manchester United in the summer has increased the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to succeed this season.
That’s the opinion of Gary Neville, who believes that the Portuguese superstar’s expectations could work against Solskjaer as the 2021/22 campaign wears on.
United return to Premier League action against Leicester City on Saturday following the conclusion of the international break.
Pressure is beginning to mount on Solskjaer after a disappointing run of results across all competitions.
United have won just two of their last six matches, with defeats against Young Boys in the Champions League, West Ham in the Carabao Cup and Aston Villa in the league raising many doubts around the team.
Solskjaer’s management has been questioned too, with his decision to bench Ronaldo for the 1-1 draw against Everton two weeks ago disagreed with by Sir Alex Ferguson among others.
Ronaldo was seen as an opportunistic blockbuster signing by United in the summer, but former United defender Neville thinks his presence could prove problematic for Solskjaer in the coming months.
“So the problems that Ole has got at the moment is Ronaldo coming means it’s make or break,” he said on Sky Sports show The Overlap.
“You have to win with Ronaldo. You have to win a trophy. He’s not coming here not to win a trophy and be second, third and fourth.
“Second thing is the performances are poor. You [Paul Scholes] have said the last couple of games… I don’t think they’ve even played well enough [in] a lot of the games they’ve won.
“The performance levels, if you watch all the top teams, City, Liverpool, Chelsea. I disagree with Scholesy, I do think Chelsea will challenge for the title.”
United are currently fourth in the Premier League table and sit just two points adrift of leaders Chelsea after seven matches.
They have the same record as defending champions Manchester City and Everton and Brighton at this stage.
However, the nature of the performances have offered some warning signs, with United needing an 89th-minute goal from Jesse Lingard to beat West Ham and an 80th-minute Mason Greenwood strike to down Wolves.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo came to the rescue in injury time to give Solskjaer’s side a 2-1 win over Villarreal in a Champions League game which the Spanish side dominated.
Solskjaer took over as United boss in December 2018 and is yet to win a trophy during his tenure, having most recently lost the Europa League final to Villarreal in May.
Ronaldo has won 32 trophies in his career, including seven league titles and five Champions Leagues and will be desperate to end his playing time with more silverware.