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The Players Who Can End Manchester United's Post-Cristiano Ronaldo Funk

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The Players Who Can End Manchester United's Post-Cristiano Ronaldo Funk

It is becoming harder to remember that United are the reigning English Premiership champions who set out this season in a quest for a fourth straight title.

It is also a little too easy to lose sight of the fact that United lie second in the Premiership despite a terrible injury list.

There is some trepidation ahead of the League Cup semi-final first leg against neighbours Manchester City.

The proud after-glow following appearances in the last two European Champions League finals has long gone.

Indeed, contemplation of a winnable tie against AC Milan is in danger of being superceded by the sense of foreboding surrounding the financial quagmire set in place by the Glazer regime and some deeply unconvincing league and cup displays by the team.

This is not helped by Chelsea's dogged pursuit of their first title in four years and by the resurgence of Arsenal but is offset somewhat by amusement at the carry-on on Merseyside!

But for how long? Liverpool's disarray may have taken the spotlight away from the United's post-Ronaldo funk.

Surely, Ferguson did not construct a one man team, over reliant on an outstanding talent who always wanted to be somewhere else?

'Sir' Ryan Giggs believes United don't miss Ronaldo. "Cristiano is one of the best players in the world but I have to be honest and say I haven't noticed much of a difference since he left," Giggs told The People newspaper last month.

"We have never been a one-man team and we still have more or less the same group of players. We all knew Cristiano wanted to play for Real Madrid, and when he got the chance he took it. He wasn't a Manc and we knew one day he would leave, and good luck to him."

What Giggs cannot see is all to obvious for fans and pundits. they can't help but notice the ghost of Ronaldo hovering over this year's United as they labour against inferior teams and surrender to better ones at an increasing rate.

If the manager and his players are to prove that United are still an accomplished unit, capable of challenging for honours and not simply treading water until the emergence of a new hero, a sustained run of form is required from these five Red stars.

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