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Michael Carrick urged to drop Cristiano Ronaldo despite latest Man Utd heroics

Mirror logo Mirror 4 days ago Freddie Keighley

Manchester United interim manager Michael Carrick must make the ruthless decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo for the good of the team.

That is the verdict of John Barnes, who warned there is "no point scoring one and conceding two" and voiced serious concerns about United's "balance" with Ronaldo leading the line.

The Portugal captain, 36, has been in sensational form in front of goal this season, scoring 10 times in 15 games this season including the decisive strike against Villarreal on Tuesday.

Despite this, Ronaldo's stranglehold on the No.9 position has been the subject of intense debate due to his work - or lack thereof - when out of possession.

The veteran striker has no interest in pressing the opposition to win the ball back and this has had a ripple effect through the team.

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United's lack of intensity has contributed to them having the worst defensive record in the top half of the Premier League, with the issue coming to a head in the dismal 5-0 thrashing at home by Liverpool in October.

Barnes believes Ronaldo must shoulder some of the blame despite being an attacker and claims the time has come for him to drop out of the starting XI.

" Manchester United need to prioritise the team, not the individual," the Liverpool legend told BonusCodeBets . "If Ronaldo is scoring goals but the team are losing, he's a part of that.

"You need players to run around when they're not scoring. There’s no point scoring one and conceding two. That's why the balance of the team should be important.

"The way Ronaldo is playing in terms of his goal scoring is fantastic but when they don’t have the ball, he’s part of a front four who don't work defensively.

"There's no point saying that just because he’s scoring goals, we're happy with him"

Barnes also advised Carrick he cannot compensate for Ronaldo by packing his attack with spritely youngsters, as he believes this would only make the situation worse.

John Barnes insists Cristiano Ronaldo compromises Manchester United's defence © Getty Images John Barnes insists Cristiano Ronaldo compromises Manchester United's defence

The former England forward added: "Manchester United can't afford to have Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood or Marcus Rashford on the pitch at the same time as they aren’t going to work defensively, because they might score two goals, but they’ll concede more.

"The balance of the team is the most important thing."

Unless there is rapid progress in the search for a new interim manager, Carrick - whose side are eighth - will need to unearth a solution for United's balance problem ahead of the trip to league-leaders Chelsea on Sunday evening.

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