Manchester United’s new assistant manager Steve McClaren has already told the club how crucial Cristiano Ronaldo will be next season.
McClaren was announced as one of Ten Hag’s new assistants alongside Mitchell van der Gaag on Monday as the Reds’ new era began with a familiar face. The former England and Middlesbrough manager was the right-hand man to Sir Alex Ferguson between 1999 and 2001.
Speculation regarding the future of Ronaldo has been among the talking points heading into Ten Hag’s tenure. However, the Dutchman has indicated his desire to find a place for the Portuguese great.
Comments made by McClaren back in November 2021 appear to show that United’s new assistant would agree with that. Speaking to talkSPORT, he said: “Many people are say that he (Ronaldo) is the problem but he’s the solution.
“If Manchester United want to go on and challenge for the league title, win trophies, Ronaldo is the man. They have got to find a way, somehow, to play as a team around him because he has certainly saved them over the last few games.”
McClaren was commenting after Ronaldo grabbed a brace against Atalanta to earn a point for United in the Champions League. The 61-year-old then claimed that the forward was the only reason Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was still employed at the Theatre of Dreams.
“He is the reason why Ole is still in a job,” he added. “He is in the middle of a tough week, he is suffering, as all managers do and this is a massive week for him.
“It is all about results, not necessarily performances, 3-0 against Spurs, 2-2 at Atalanta last night. Ronaldo coming to the rescue again.”
Of course, following defeats to Man City and Watford just over a week later, Solskjaer was sacked to be replaced temporarily by Ralf Rangnick.