Carrick: Dropping Ronaldo not a major decision , Latest Football News - The New Paper

Carrick: Dropping Ronaldo not a major decision

Arsenal boss Arteta backs his own star striker Aubameyang to end goalless run

Manchester United's caretaker manager Michael Carrick said there was no "drama" over dropping star attacker Cristiano Ronaldo from the starting XI against Chelsea last Sunday.

The Portuguese returned to Old Trafford with great fanfare, and, despite questions about his ability to press at 36, he is by far the club's top scorer with 10 goals in 15 games.

He came on in the 64th minute for Man of the Match Jadon Sancho in the 1-1 draw against the table-topping Blues. Ronaldo went straight down the tunnel the moment the full-time whistle blew.

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With incoming interim manager Ralf Rangnick still unable to take his place in the dugout as he awaits his work permit, Carrick will again take charge tomorrow morning (Singapore time) against Arsenal at Old Trafford.

On Ronaldo, Carrick said yesterday: "I think them type of discussions get blown up really, a lot bigger than they probably are, when you're... inside the team...

"Decisions are made for a lot of different reasons, and of course, certain ones get bigger news than others.

"I didn't see it as being a major decision. It certainly wasn't within the camp or group... The game went well to an extent and it wasn't a drama at all."

Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has backed his own star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to rediscover his goalscoring form after the Gunners' skipper failed to find the net in his last four games.

Aubameyang, the league's joint-top scorer in 2018/19, has struggled this season with only four league goals in 12 appearances.

The 32-year-old has been paired with fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette up front in recent games, with both players tasked with pressing defenders to win the ball back, and Arteta said the duo must adapt to changes in the team's system.

"The form of Auba is always going to be related to the goals he scores. He does many other things apart from scoring goals, but obviously, we need that contribution because goals are critical for our success," Arteta told reporters yesterday.

"That's been shown in the last few years when we've been able to do that and that has to be his aim... I think with Laca it's a little bit different. I think Laca is more comfortable playing (as a No. 9).

"The formation that we play allows him more freedom to attack certain spaces more often and the defensive duty changes a lot from one formation or the other. That's something to consider, depending on the players that play alongside him."

The Spaniard said Granit Xhaka and Sead Kolasinac would not be involved at Old Trafford, but added he was hopeful Bukayo Saka would be available after the attacker picked up an injury against Newcastle United last Saturday.

Arteta also praised United's appointment of Rangnick, saying: "He's made some radical changes in some areas and he's a really interesting person in the footballing world, a really interesting appointment for the club." - REUTERS

"That gets overlooked - first choice in a good Brazil team shows how far Fred's come... He's played a little bit higher up the pitch at times the last couple of games than maybe before."

- Manchester United caretaker manager Michael Carrick