Cristiano Ronaldo’s demand for the highest standards at Manchester United has led manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to urge his players to move the ball quicker in attacking areas in order to get the best out of the Portugal forward, sources told ESPN.
Ronaldo has scored five goals in five games for United since returning to the club from Juventus in the summer, after a 12-year absence.
But sources told ESPN that Ronaldo has made it clear to Solskjaer and his coaches that he can further increase his goal ratio if United become sharper and quicker when distributing the ball in the opposition half. Ronaldo has been deployed in a central attacking position by Solskjaer since making his debut against Newcastle last month, with Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood used as inverted wingers alongside the 36-year-old.
Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes have been used as attacking midfielders behind Ronaldo, but sources said that United’s coaching team want the team’s defensive players to get the ball to the attackers more quickly, which will in turn enable them to feed Ronaldo and take advantage of opponents being out of shape at the back.
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Sources told ESPN that United’s coaching staff believe Raphael Varane’s arrival from Real Madrid has helped improve the team’s speed of play, with the France international more capable of moving the ball forward with pace and precision than Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.