The English football pundit has said Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing disrupted Ole’s plan for Manchester United.
The United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday after a shambling defeat to Watford.
In his latest column, Paul has said Manchester United started the season with inferior form because they signed Ronaldo.
Although a 2nd placed finish in the league last season, with the addition of some summer signings, including Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo, the United chiefs expected further progress in this campaign but have been seeing a decline in performance.
Paul stated that Ole had a plan at the start of the season, and having chased Sancho for a very long time, he finally got him, complimenting it with Cavani signing a year deal.
United Never Needed Ronaldo
He added that the coach planned to start Cavani all game with Sancho and Rashford flanking him; “Mason Greenwood coming in and swapping around, you have pace, power, energy, youth, skill, the lot,” he said.
“Then, just before the season started, he was given Ronaldo; they’re not a better team with Ronaldo in it,” he stated.
He believes the team cannot counter-attack anymore with Ronaldo, and Bruno Fernandes, their best player last season, has hardly had a touch this season!
Reiterating that United only went for Ronaldo because they heard Manchester City were after him and not because they needed him.
He said United never asked Juventus for his availability because he was never the link for United winning the title.
He added that the thoughts of letting him go to Manchester City are bad enough for them “as City finishes above us every year in the league anyway!”
Paul noted that Ole was forced to play Ronaldo all games because the one time he tried to drop him against Everton, it backfired, and he had to start playing him every week.
He continued, “They chased Sancho for 18 months, they get him, and he doesn’t play a game. People are saying they didn’t need Sancho, but he was perfect for how they played counter-attacking football.”
He stated that now they can’t counter-attack, and the plan entirely and utterly went out of the window.
He added that fixing the Ronaldo dilemma will be a problem in the future as “he’s the king, the fans love him”.
He said Ronaldo is one of the best players globally, and he’s got records to back it up, but not today; he is an “Achilles heel” for United.
He also stated that Ronaldo has done his job and scored many goals since his return, but United needs to play as a team to win trophies and “not have someone who stands up front and puts the ball in the net twenty times a season”.
Though he acknowledged not having a go at Ronaldo as he is one of the best to play the game, he was “shot down” from day one on Transfer deadline day.
“I got slaughtered for saying they were further away from winning the league the moment they signed him than they were before. It’s not Solskjaer’s fault – Solskjaer didn’t buy him!”
Paul Merson on Interim Manager
He questioned the motive behind bringing in an interim manager, as they could do well with a permanent coach now.
He said, “This is a lot of hard work before United challenge again; it’s not about steadying the boat.”
He said they need to get a manager in ASAP no matter the cost as they also spend so much to bring in less performing players.
“If you get someone in the summer and it doesn’t start well, they’ll be saying: “It’s not my team, I couldn’t get this player or that player.” The new manager has got to have a clear-out as early as possible before the season starts next year.”