Ralf Rangnick’s interim stint at Old Trafford won’t be remembered fondly in terms of results.
Manchester United have taken just five points from 18 on offer since the start of the month and lost three of their last five. They are languishing in sixth in the league table, five points behind Arsenal in fourth spot but having played two games more. It is increasingly likely that the English giants will miss out on Champions League qualification.
The rare positive, though, has been Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 37-year-old, who notched a hat trick against Norwich and netted his 100th Premier League goal at Arsenal in his previous two outings, again single-handedly snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat. He scored his 17th goal of the season to earn United a point against a wasteful Chelsea, who had controlled most of the game but failed to make their dominance count.
According to stats provider Squawka, the Blues were one of the few opponents Ronaldo had not managed to score against in the English topflight. But Thursday night’s breakthrough means that the Portuguese superstar has now scored against every Premier League team he’s faced in four or more games.
In keeping with the United’s horrendous season only Ronaldo emerged with any credit. He has now netted 23 goals in all competitions this season and moved joint-second on the domestic league top scorers list with 17 goals only behind Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah.
“Not only the goal Cristiano scored but his whole performance, his attitude at age of 37, this is not normal to do that,” observed Rangnick during the post-game press conference. “If he plays like he did today he can still be a big help to this team.”
When asked whether his team are too reliant on Ronaldo for goals, Rangnick said, “We have to still be fair with the players. We had quite a few other players scoring goals, I remember, in my first 10 games, we had 10 different goalscorers. It is how many opportunities can we create and how many goalscorers.”
“Right now, we very much rely on Cristiano, he also showed a good performance when Chelsea were in possession. But there has to be a focus on bringing in a couple of new strikers for sure,” he added.