Ralf Rangnick confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo will return against Everton on Saturday, while insisting Manchester United cannot afford to drop any more points in the top-four race. United are languishing in seventh in the Premier League after limping to a 1-1 draw at home to Leicester City last Saturday, sitting three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, who have played a game fewer.Arsenal are level on points with their London rivals, having played two games fewer than United, whose 2021-22 hopes rely on Champions League qualification after failure in the cup competitions. That has led to questions over the capabilities of Rangnick, the identity of his next permanent successor, and the future of numerous United stars, with Paul Pogba and Ronaldo both scrutinised. The Portugal captain missed the Leicester game and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher, joined by Wayne Rooney, labelled Ronaldo’s return as a mistake.
The former Real Madrid man will hope to prove his doubters wrong when the Red Devils on Saturday head to Merseyside, where Rangnick reminded his team they cannot drop points if they want to qualify for UEFA’s flagship club competition.
Cristiano is back again. Luke [Shaw] is still injured. He will be out for the next two or three weeks,” Rangnick told reporters at Friday’s pre-match news conference.”[Edinson] Cavani is still injured, [Raphael] Varane is still injured and the same is true with [Scott] McTominay I’m afraid.
“Asked if the game was must win, he added: “That happens in football [big teams struggling], not only England but in other leagues. But for us again, it’s about being aware about the current situation.
“We still have a chance to qualify for the Champions League, but in order to do that we need to win and we definitely need to win the game tomorrow.”If you look at the current situation in the table, we can’t afford to drop points anymore and I think everybody in the team and the squad is aware of that.”