Louis Saha reckons Manchester United would now be better if they had Cristiano Ronaldo to call upon.
Ronaldo left United after the World Cup break and joined Saudi side Al Nassr in the wake of his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan, in which he was heavily critical of the club.
The Portugal international’s influence at United was on the wane with Erik ten Hag dropping him to the bench.
And there were multiple reports of Ronaldo’s negative effect on his United teammates during that period and his exit has coincided with a dramatic turnaround in the club’s fortunes.
But at the first sign of strife – – we were waiting for one of Ronaldo’s former teammates to come out of the woodwork and claim they’d be better off with him still at the club. Enter Louis Saha.
Saha told Compare Bet: “Ronaldo’s departure marked a fresh start for United, and it gave ten Hag a blank page to draw upon, which has allowed him to establish a winning mentality at the club. Now that the club’s mindset has improved, I think they’d be doing even better if they had Cristiano up top. Of course, it’s hard to know for sure, but when I see United losing 7-0 to Liverpool, I can only think that Cristiano could have helped.”
Saha did acknowledge that Ten Hag has turned United fortunes around since Ronaldo’s departure, but reckons the legendary striker deserves some credit for “boosting confidence” among the players…
He said: “With all respect to Cristiano’s legacy, and his record at United – which more or less speaks for itself – you cannot ignore the dramatic change in United’s form since Ronaldo left. But at the same time, it was a very difficult situation for Erik ten Hag to deal with upon arrival at Manchester United, and it just didn’t go well. But I don’t think this is because of Cristiano, but because of the other players’ mindsets.
“With the right communication, the right level of respect, maybe a compromise could have been found, but he’s still contributed to Man United’s resurrection by the effect he had on players around him. He boosted confidence, and gave players the freedom to express themselves, which has been a big factor in United’s improvement this season.”