“There’s no point saying that just because he’s scoring goals, we’re happy with him.”
John Barnes has urged Manchester United caretaker manager Michael Carrick to drop Cristiano Ronaldo to ‘improve the balance of the team’.
Ronaldo has been in scintillating form so far this season, registering 10 goals and two assists in 14 appearances since his return to Old Trafford in the summer.
Despite his impressive start to the campaign in front of goal, the Portuguese captain has attracted criticism from a number of people for his work rate – or lack thereof – when out of possession.
The 36-year-old – who scored the decisive goal against Villarreal in the Champions League on Tuesday – has undeniably lowered his defensive efforts as he has gotten older, very rarely pressing the opposition to win the ball back.
Considering this, and also the fact that United have the worst defensive record in the top half of the Premier League, Barnes believes that Ronaldo must take some of the blame, despite boasting a strong goal record.
The former Liverpool forward suggested that it could be time for United’s No 7 to drop to the bench, warning that there is ‘no point scoring one and conceding two’.
“Manchester United need to prioritise the team, not the individual,” Barnes told BonusCodeBets. “If Ronaldo is scoring goals but the team are losing, he’s a part of that.
“You need players to run around when they’re not scoring. There’s no point scoring one and conceding two. That’s why the balance of the team should be important.
“The way Ronaldo is playing in terms of his goal scoring is fantastic but when they don’t have the ball, he’s part of a front four who don’t work defensively.
“There’s no point saying that just because he’s scoring goals, we’re happy with him”
The 58-year-old Barnes also advised Carrick that United ‘cant afford’ to have four attackers on the pitch at the same time as they ‘aren’t going to work defensively’.
He added: “Manchester United can’t afford to have Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood or Marcus Rashford on the pitch at the same time as they aren’t going to work defensively, because they might score two goals, but they’ll concede more.
“The balance of the team is the most important thing.”
Although Carrick began his reign as the Red Devils’ caretaker boss with a win in midweek, United have since agreed a deal with Ralf Rangnick to take charge on an interim basis until the end of the season.