Ralf Rangnick pays price for Cristiano Ronaldo decision after Sir Alex Ferguson advice


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Manchester United drew 1-1 with struggling Burnley at Turf Moor on Tuesday, adding to their list of disappointing nights this season.

Before the game, interim manager Ralf Rangnick took a big decision by benching Cristiano Ronaldo in favor of Edinson Cavani.

“Today will demand a lot of sprinting, chasing balls, and fighting for second balls,” the German coach said ahead of the encounter to MUTV.

“I decided to start with Edi since he has the type of profile we’re looking for.”

And, for a while, it appeared to be a wise choice. United did have more vigor than normal in the first half, scoring three goals in the first 21 minutes.

Unfortunately for Rangnick, two of those goals were disallowed due to fouling, and his squad quickly ran out of steam after the break.

Burnley’s new striker Wout Weghorst, who was playing alongside Jay Rodriguez, bullied United’s defense and brilliantly connected for the latter’s equalizer.

Weghorst was unlucky not to score, sending David de Gea into a spectacular save with a stinging long-range strike.

Rangnick was eventually left to regret his choice to bench Ronaldo. He came on in the 68th minute, hoping to salvage a victory, but it was too late.

The setback has seriously hurt United’s chances of finishing in the top four, as West Ham defeated Watford 1-0 at the London Stadium to reclaim the final Champions League position.

Arsenal and Tottenham are only three points back of the Red Devils. The Gunners have two games in hand on Spurs, who have three.

Ronaldo has been dropped by United several times since his stunning comeback to Manchester six months ago.

Rangnick’s predecessor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, left the Portuguese ace on the bench for United’s Premier League match against Everton at Old Trafford in October.

United was held to a 1-1 draw, exactly as they were on Tuesday.

The consequences of that outcome were significant. Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary manager of Manchester United, questioned Solskjaer’s choice to bench Ronaldo.

Ferguson was heard saying in a leaked tape, “You should always start your top players.” Solskjaer’s reputation suffered as a result, and he was fired the following month.

Rangnick clearly did not heed Ferguson’s recommendation to Solskjaer, as he chose not to start Ronaldo at Turf Moor.

Rangnick will be hoping that Ferguson, who continues to cast a large shadow over his successors, remains mute this time.

Whether or not the German coach should use Ronaldo is still up for dispute. Many people still believe he is the best footballer on the planet, while others say he causes more problems than he solves.

However, one thing is certain. If Rangnick benched Ronaldo, United would have to win the game.

Anything less than three points exposes the interim boss, who begins a two-year consulting stint in the summer, to criticism.

And, as we all know, Ferguson isn’t hesitant to express himself, even when it’s not welcomed.

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