Cristiano Ronaldo has told his Manchester United team-mates it is time to “roll up the sleeves” as the Red Devils aim to spark life into a flagging campaign.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position as manager has come under increasing scrutiny following a run of four defeats in six Premier League outings and only three wins in 10 across all competitions.
The pressure was cranked up following a drab performance in a 2-0 derby defeat to Manchester City prior to the international break, a result that came just two weeks after an embarrassing 5-0 loss to fierce rivals Liverpool.
Big things were expected of United this season following a transfer window that saw Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane join, as well as the return of club legend Ronaldo from Juventus.
The Portugal star has nine goals in 12 appearances across all competitions, to go with one assist and 14 chances created for team-mates. He also has a big-chance conversion rate of 60 per cent.
United were aiming to back to winning ways against lowly Watford on Saturday, a side they have beaten in 18 of their 26 top-flight encounters – a win ratio of 69 per cent. Among teams they have faced at least 20 times in their top-flight history, they only have a higher win ratio against Luton Town (73 per cent).
And in a potentially positive sign, since 2003-04 when he first joined United, Ronaldo has been directly involved in 104 goals in 91 league appearances against newly promoted teams (83 goals, 21 assists), scoring or assisting every 71 minutes.
He has scored 20 goals in his last 14 league games against promoted teams, across spells with Real Madrid and Juventus.
But ahead of the game, Ronaldo issued a rallying cry on Instagram to his team-mates.
He wrote: “Time to role [sic] up the sleeves once again and just get the job done! Let’s chase what we are trying to achieve this season! #MUFC.”
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