Nuno Espirito Santo hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as “one of the best players in history” while praising the forward for the joy he brings to their native Portugal.
Tottenham host Manchester United on Saturday, fresh from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side suffering a 5-0 defeat against Liverpool – their heaviest ever home defeat to the Reds.
Ronaldo, who is the all-time leading goal scorer in international football, saw his side lose by five or more goals for just the second time in 617 top-flight league appearances.
The United forward has also not managed to score in any of his last four league matches, his worst run since November 2017 – he has not gone five games without finding the net since a spell of nine between November 2008 and January 2009 during his first spell at Old Trafford.
However, Nuno spoke glowingly of his Portuguese compatriot, who returned to United in September after spells with Real Madrid and Juventus.
“Ronaldo, for all of us Portuguese, is someone we are very proud of,” Nuno said at Friday’s pre-match news conference.
“Ronaldo brought us so many moments of immense happiness. When you go around the world and people ask you where you’re from and you say Portugal, the first thing they say is Ronaldo.
“He is one of the best players in history.”
United have won two of their past three top-flight visits to Spurs, though the Red Devils go into Saturday on the back of three defeats in their four most recent Premier League matches, as many as in their previous 37 league games.
But Nuno refused to discredit Solskjaer’s side while insisting every manager comes under pressure on a regular basis.
“That [defeat against Liverpool] shows that the competition is very tough,” he continued.
“All the teams are very good. Man United is a fantastic team and we know exactly that we’re going to face a very good team of football.
“There is no manager in the world not under pressure, it is part of our job.
“I focus on what I have to focus and my focus is on what I can control and what I can impact. It’s on the players, on the squad, on the work what we do, on the players when we are together, hours we spend here in the training ground, this is where we all have to focus.”
Starting the move, finishing the move.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 29, 2021
Harry Kane, winner of three Premier League Golden Boot awards, has been in a lean spell of form this season, scoring just once in eight top-flight appearances.
Nuno, though, defended his striker as he suggested it is up to his team to create chances for the England talisman.
“We should improve, we have aspects in our game that have improved,” the former Wolves head coach added.
“For example, against Aston Villa we had many, many shots and the first half of the West Ham game, a game in my opinion we controlled and had momentum, we had chances.
“In the second half we didn’t, we had situations with final touches that didn’t improve, the positions of the players. So, it is up to us to find the chances for him, we are here to support and find solutions.”
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