Manchester United’s formation change ‘stopped Cristiano Ronaldo from looking like a little boy’

Manchester United legend Gary Neville says Cristiano Ronaldo ‘looked like a little boy’ in manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s previously preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

The United boss has been under pressure in recent weeks following a downturn in the club’s form, but reacted by switching to a 3-5-2 formation for the 3-0 Premier League victory against Tottenham, which in that regard only served their second clean sheet in 22 games.

And after the success, the new system remained in place for the Champions League match against Atalanta on Tuesday night, until Raphael Varane’s injury saw Solskjær forced to switch to a four – man defense.

Neville believes the formation change “was not Ole’s plan” but made to get the best out of Ronaldo, telling Sky Sports: Leaving Sancho, Rashford and [Mason] Greenwood on the bench is not the plan.

“It was not the plan this summer for the recruitment. It was not the plan this summer for Ole. It was not the way he had intended him to play.

“He’s played 4-2-3-1 in the last 37 games, so it’s not his [long-term] plans to go 3-5-2. But the system change seemed to suit Ronaldo. It took the pressure off him from a defensive point of view.

“Up against three central defenders in Leicester and then against Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate last week, he looked like a little boy. But on Saturday he seemed to fit him perfectly to play in those moments.”

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