Watch: Ronaldo drops deep to help Man Utd overcome West Ham

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo during their victory over West Ham in Manchester, England, January 2022.

On the face of it, Cristiano Ronaldo had a quiet afternoon during Manchester United’s late victory over West Ham – but a video has emerged showing Ronaldo’s crucial role in Saturday’s win.

The 36-year-old attracted unwanted headlines last week as he lamented Ralf Rangnick’s decision to substitute him at Brentford.

But he was influential against West Ham, veering away from his usual role as the main striker and collecting the ball in deeper positions on numerous occasions.

Ronaldo has adapted his game over time, often playing on the shoulder of the last defender.

But his subtle role change during Saturday’s success allowed his team-mates to run past him and offer options further ahead, which gave United more variety in attack.

Defenders are drawn towards Ronaldo and United exploited this tendency on Saturday to carve out chances against a resolute West Ham backline.

“If I look at the shots on goal and the chances during the game, I think we deserved a 1-0 win,” manager Ralf Rangnick said afterwards.

“For me, it was clear from the very beginning it would take some patience against a well-organised team like West Ham. It was not always easy for us to find the best possible solutions in the final third.

“Defensively I think it was probably the best performance in the last eight weeks, the way that we were always trying to win balls back, our counter-pressing.”

“One more important win before the Premier League stoppage, one more step towards our goals,” Ronaldo posted on Instagram.

“The road is bumpy and filled with obstacles, but we stand together and work hard to make our supporters proud! Let’s go, Devils!”

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