Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo this summer is a ‘make or break’, says pundit Gary Neville.
Ronaldo completed his sensational return to Old Trafford on deadline day after originally leaving the club in 2009 in favour of a then world-record move to Real Madrid.
And the Portuguese star has already made an immediate impact, scoring twice on his debut against Newcastle, once against Young Boys, and another on Sunday against West Ham.
But signing Ronaldo will not come without its pressures, with United now expected to win a trophy this season after shelling out on several names in the summer, inlcuding on the likes of Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho.
Neville believes the decision could be the deciding factor in Solskjaer’s future at the club, while also explaining that the United manager won’t be worried about Ronaldo’s instructions from the sidelines.
“I don’t think Ole is the type [to be bothered about Ronaldo’s touchline instructions],” Neville told 5 Live Breakfast.
“He’s dealt with Paul Pogba well over the last 12 months. He’s dealt with big personalities. He seems to have the right temperament for that.
“There is no doubt Ronaldo is a make or break signing for Ole because, with Ronaldo in the squad, he has to win. You can’t have any excuses. You bring one of the best players of all time into your club; with the [Jadon] Sancho signing and the Varane signing at centre-back, he has now got to deliver.
“He has not won a trophy yet with the club, and he knows now is the time to deliver.”
The news comes after Ronaldo received critiscism for his actions on the touchline against Swiss side Young Boys in the Champions League on Tuesday.
After being subbed for Jesse Lingard towards the end of the game, the 36-year-old could be seen barking orders from the sidelines alongside Solskjaer.
However, off the pitch, Solskjaer recently revealed that Ronaldo is already inspiring the club’s young players, including the likes of 19-year-old Mason Greenwood.
“Cristiano has come exactly as we hoped, he knows Man United, he’s been here before, same with Tom Heaton,” said Solskjaer.
“The two of them know the culture, they know what we do, they’ve learnt it here, they’ve come back and they’ve given these young boys glimpses of what you can have in your career.
“They talk to them about their own previous experiences. How we do things here is within the walls and you have to experience it to be able to pass it on, with the career Cristiano has had of course Anthony, Mason, Marcus for that matter, Anthony Martial as well, still young players and they can learn off the best.
“They know the expectations and the circus and everything that happened before the Newcastle game, Cristiano handled it well and the other players handled it really well. It’s what we do. Good players come in and you learn from them but you still want to take their place.”
Solskjaer’s quest for a trophy this season got off on the wrong footing on Wednesday when his side were dumped out of the EFL Cup at the hands of West Ham.
Manuel Lanzini’s ninth minute strike proved to be the difference between the two sides as David Moyes got revenge on United for their 2-1 win against them on Sunday.
The Red Devils won the Premier League contest at the London Stadium thanks to a last minute winner from substitute Jesse Lingard.
United will now turn their attention to preparing for the visit of Aston Villa to Old Trafford in the early kick-off on Saturday.