Sir Alex Ferguson believes Cristiano Ronaldo should have started Manchester United’s game against Everton, saying his absence provided the Toffees with a boost as they claimed a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo began the game on the bench, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claiming his team needing refreshing after their “physically and emotionally” tiring win over Villarreal in the Champions League three days earlier.
Ronaldo was brought on during the second half against Everton – when United were winning 1-0 – but was unable to help them hold onto the victory.
United have now won just two of their last six matches and Ronaldo looked frustrated at full-time on Saturday, walking straight down the tunnel while muttering to himself.
Ferguson – who won 13 Premier League titles during his reign at United – was in attendance at Old Trafford on Saturday and was filmed after the game talking to UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov.
In a video posted on social media by the Russian, Ferguson is heard saying Everton were given a boost “when they saw Ronaldo wasn’t playing.”
Manchester United are not commenting on the story.
Ronaldo has scored five goals in six games since returning to United from Juventus this summer.
He was first signed for the club by Ferguson when he was an 18-year-old at Sporting Lisbon in 2003, before being sold to Real Madrid for a then-world record fee six years later.
Ronaldo has said that Ferguson played a role in convincing him to make his dramatic return to Old Trafford this summer.