Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo in the wake of his side’s stirring 3-2 win over Atalanta on Wednesday night. The Red Devils weren’t at their best in the match at Old Trafford. But they still picked up all three points regardless, with the 36-year-old coming to their rescue.
Manchester United found themselves 2-0 down against Atalanta at half time, with players then jeered off.
Mario Palasic put the visitors in front, with former Chelsea star Davide Zappacosta providing the assist.
And Merih Demiral then doubled their lead, heading home from a corner after getting the better of Harry Maguire.
United, however, upped the ante after the break.
Marcus Rashford scored his second goal from as many games, with the England international converting after a sumptuous pass from Bruno Fernandes.
Maguire then levelled and, in the closing stages, Ronaldo headed home to secure all three points.
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After the game, Solskjaer was asked about the exploits of the veteran following his sensational heroics.
And the 48-year-old has now passionately defended his star asset from criticism that doesn’t run around or work hard enough for the team.
“If anyone wants to criticise him for work rate or attitude, just look at the way he runs around in this game,” he said.
Solskjaer also praised United’s supporters, too, insisting they carried the team through the contest.
“The fans have kept everyone going and gave the players the belief,” he said.
“The singing corner is the best in the world and there’s some times where you are down as a supporter.
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“I thought we played well first half but two chances two goals and that has to stop.
‘We’ve got a habit of doing this at this club but first half we played well but they never stopped believing and kept going.
“Don’t disrespect the players they played for Man United and they are the luckiest men in the world because they’re the ones who get to play for Man United and millions of boys and girls would love to do that.
“Rashford will be very important for us and it was an inevitive finish from Maguire and when we didn’t expect him to score that one.”
Maguire also spoke out, too, hailing United for the way they responded to being two goals down.
“The first half we conceded two bad goals,” he said.
“Two big moments in the game. For the first they caught us out and then the second it is a set-play that we shouldn’t be conceding.
“We created a lot of chances in the first half so we knew at half-time that the next goal would be crucial. We got the goals we needed and deserved and I think we deserved the win in the end. Yes, we made it difficult but it is a tremendous victory in the end.
“I had eyes on it all the way [Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal]. I was right behind him.
“His leap, his timing, it was perfect right in the corner. We see it day in, day out in training and in the goals he has scored throughout his career. He has come up with a massive goal for us again in the Champions League.
“It is normally with my head [that he scores]. I have not manged to put one away. It is my first goal for the season and the Champions league. A proud moment with my family here.
“We were two goals down and we need to sharpen up with that. But we had plenty of chances. I think Marcus [Rashford] had two one-on-ones in the first-half. We are working hard to be more solid but it is about winning and the last three or four games we have conceded too many set-pieces. It is fine margins but we need to do better. We showed great togetherness. We were clapped off at half-time by some of these fans and they gave us the belief we needed.”