Author Archives: Jarrod Partridge

Passive Manchester United Outclassed In Derby Defeat

It was men against boys at Old Trafford for the Manchester Derby, as Manchester City never needed to get out of second gear as they ran out 2-0 winners in what was a pitiful performance from the hosts. 

In fact, United had more shots on their own goal than they did of City’s, and such was the visitor’s stranglehold on the game that they didn’t need to make a single substitution to keep the door for a comeback slammed shut. 

Such is the malaise that has spread through all facets of Old Trafford that this result is neither a shock, nor is the performance worth getting riled up about. 

In a world where the term ‘new normal’ has been part of the vernacular for the past 18 months, this is the new normal at Old Trafford. 

A humiliation by Liverpool, a win at Spurs, a last-gasp draw at Atalanta then strangulation by City is seen as ok by Ed Woodward, the board, and the Glazers as long as shirts are still being sold and Champions League qualification is at least mathematically possible. 

That their man is devoid of any philosophy, system, or tactics when it comes to facing the Big 6 is of little consequence while the share price is still stable. 

As predictable as the result was Solskjaer’s post-match comments, where once again he talked about being disappointed and having to pick ourselves up and keep working. 

“It’s very difficult to talk now, of course, because we started the game off badly, passive and when they get the first goal, it was always going to be a difficult game anyway, but being 1-0 down was hard. David [De Gea] kept us in the game, some good stops and then they scored a goal they always score. [Joao] Cancelo cuts inside, cross [to the] back-stick that we know that’s going to happen and it shouldn’t happen. It’s disappointing, of course. It’s hard to talk at the moment. We play against a good team, don’t forget that, but we were nowhere near what our standards and levels can be and that’s something we have to get back to. We’ve got to go back to being on the front foot, be more aggressive, maybe circumstances have made us a little bit more cautious and passive.”

“The result and the manner of the goals we conceded: of course, we’re disappointed with them but we have to get back to what we were. More aggressive, more [on the] front foot and trust ourselves more than what we’ve shown today. I understand that the last couple of weeks have been difficult, but now it’s hard to stand here and talk too much. We have to be more precise on the ball, trust ourselves on the ball, without the ball, be more aggressive, find the angles quicker and play the passes we should be doing.”

“They played well, of course they don’t give you opportunities to win the ball off them. Some praise has got to go to them as well but, of course, we were not at our level and standard, they need to be raised.”

“I’m sure when we come back, the players will be fresh in their minds after the internationals and, of course, the demands on me and the players are going to be high, expectations and we’ve just got to get back to what, as I said, we started to look like and what we were for a while and we’ve got the players to do that.”

“We can’t, or I can’t, look at myself and say this is the way I want Man United to play. I’m in good communication all the time with the club and that’s very up front and honest about the situation. I work for Man United, I want the best for Man United and, of course, as long as I’m here, I want to do what I can do to improve this and that’s going back to what we started to look like, as I said.”

“It’s so hard to go through a game like this and we understand everyone’s frustration and disappointment but these boys will do everything they can and the staff will do everything we can and try to get us back to everything we were: front foot, positive, attacking Man United. We’ll do what we can to do that.”

Yawn. 

These latest comments could be copied and pasted from any of United’s defeats of the Solskjaer era, yet nothing changes. 

For Solskjaer the international break comes at a good time as, if he keeps his job, it will take some of the pressure off for a short period. 

However, for United fans, it will be an awful time where they will see many of their players who are inept in a red shirt put in Herculean performances for their country. 

After the international break United have a tricky away game at Watford, where the new normal means escaping with a draw will be seen as a positive result. 

Manchester United Rediscover Form At Hapless Tottenham

If a week is a long time in football, the past few days have felt like an eternity for Manchester United players and fans alike, as calls for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be replaced grew louder and louder. 

However, under the bright lights of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Manchester United did what they so often do of late, and put on a stunning display, winning 3-0, to keep the wolves at bay for at least a few days. 

Now it is Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo who finds himself in the hot seat after his side was booed off the pitch at halftime, and the manager himself was serenaded with chants of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ in the second half. 

For United the storm clouds have temporarily lifted after three fantastic goals, scored by Ronaldo, Cavani, and Rashford, with the team looking much more cohesive at the back, while the Cavani-Ronaldo partnership is beginning to look a terrifying prospect for opponents. 

Much has been made of Ronaldo’s impact since returning to the club, and the Portuguese superstar was thrilled to be able to contribute to putting a smile on the away side fans faces in London. 

“We knew before the game that we had a tough week [after] a result that we didn’t expect.”

“The team was a little bit under pressure, a little bit sad, but we knew that today we [could] give a good answer. We played good, we started the game very well.”

“Of course my job is to help the team with my experience, my goals, my assists and I did that today and I feel so pleased with that. But in terms of the team, it was an unbelievable performance in my opinion.”

“We didn’t expect the last result in the Premier League. But, you know, I hope this time we turn the page.”

“I believe that some things happen for a reason and we have to be happy for this amazing afternoon. We have won 3-0 in an away stadium against a difficult team and we are so, so pleased for that.”

“The criticisms are always there.”

“For me, it doesn’t bother me because I have played 18 years of football, so I know that one day [people will say] we are perfect and another day [they will say] we are crap.

“I know that and we have to deal with that, but it’s always better when the people praise you and they are happy with you.

“Sometimes life is like that, sometimes we have to pass through bad moments and we have to change and we changed today,” said Ronaldo.

Liverpool Humiliate Insipid Manchester United At Old Trafford

Liverpool has humiliated an insipid Manchester United side, leaving Old Trafford with a 5-0 victory in a match that should surely cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his job. 

The visitors got off to a fast start, with Naby Keita and Diogo Jota putting Liverpool two goals to the good inside the first 15 minutes. 

From there it was game over as Mohamed Salah ran riot, scoring two wonderful goals in the first half to hand United the worst first-half home performance in their history, as the hosts went into the break four goals down. 

The rout was complete in the 50th minute as Jordan Henderson played a sublime ball with the outside of his foot to an onrushing Salah, who completed his hat trick with aplomb. 

United’s defence was shambolic at best, with captain Harry Maguire not only looking generally unfit, but also unfit to wear a United shirt – ever. 

Once again the manager wheeled out his usual responses about having to do better, but the facts have been laid bare today. Against a tactically superior manager such as Jurgen Klopp, he simply cannot go toe to toe. 

“It’s not easy to say something apart from it’s the darkest day I’ve had leading these players and we weren’t good enough, individually and as a team. You can’t give a team like Liverpool those chances, unfortunately we did. The whole performance wasn’t good enough, that’s for sure. We’ve created openings, they’ve had chances and they’ve been clinical. We didn’t take our chances early on and the third goal is the one that decided the game.”

“Early on, I felt we started sloppy and maybe a bit not confident enough. Not trusting ourselves. We gave the ball away, we kicked it out the first three or four minutes. Then we get the big massive opening, good attack, one-on-one with the keeper. We don’t take it and they then score with their first and second chance and at 2-0 down you have to go for it. You have to, we can’t lay down and keep it down to 2-0. We had chances, they had chances. They took theirs, we didn’t.”

“The coaching staff are very, very good. Brilliant. I choose the way we approach the game and, today, we weren’t clinical enough going forward. There were spaces for both teams and, when you give good players spaces, they score. You know it’s a good question [why not play on the break?] I can say anything but we’re at home, playing against Liverpool. They’ve come here over the last two-and-a-half years and we had a similar approach to go high press and, today, they scored on their chances early on. They hadn’t done that before. I think Manchester United should always try, at home, to go and stamp our authority on the game, like I said before.”

“You know, you can look back at last season and we lose a big one to Spurs, 6-1, but this is worse. The opposition, as well, make it much worse for me as a Manchester lad. And it’s I’ve just got to say we have to really get over this as quickly as we can and move on. You’re not a robot, of course. I’m devastated and I’m as low as I’ve ever been when I’ve been at this fantastic football club. We’ve had dark days here before and we’ve always bounced back. I will always bounce back, no matter what the situation is now. What can you do about it? That’s the way I’ve got to look at it.”

“I’ve come too far. We’ve come too far as a group. We’re too close to give up now.  That’s going to be a difficult one [lifting everyone]. I understand human nature and the players are going to be low. I’ll just look into their eyes and the character of them. I know loads of characters are there. I know we’re rock bottom and can’t feel any worse than this so let’s see where we take it. The only way I know how to approach life is to wake up tomorrow morning and look forward, of course evaluate what has gone on, and do my very, very best to come through difficult times,” said Solskjaer

For many United fans, when the team sheet showed McFred in the middle, only the most optimistic fan could have expected even a draw, though not many would have imagined the humiliation that was to come.

Solskjaer is a club legend who did a fantastic job to steady the ship after the tumultuous reigns of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho. 

That he has taken the club as far as he can and is now out of his depth is not his fault, and the board need to move to replace him sooner rather than later, before his reputation is unfairly tarnished beyond repair. 

Ronaldo Heroics Rescue Manchester United Again

Manchester United v Atalanta: Group F - UEFA Champions League

It was another late show from Ronaldo, as once again the Portuguese talisman rescued Manchester United in a home Champions League fixture, as the Red Devils stormed back from two goals down at halftime to beat Atalanta 3-2. 

Ronaldo’s goal, his 137th in the competition, may have done enough to save his managers job too, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer staring down the barrel after a torrid run of results. 

However, as the third goal crashed in, the relief inside Old Trafford was palpable, and there is now renewed enthusiasm for Liverpool’s visit on the weekend. 

While the manager was not happy heading into the half-time break two goals down, he was thrilled with the response his team made in the second half. 

“Tonight was an attacking game from start to finish. I thought it was two teams who were offensive-minded and wanted to go attacking. Maybe we wanted to finish the attacks too quickly and maybe gave the ball away too easily trying a risky pass. But that’s in our DNA. We’ve got players running and players with the quality of playing the last pass. Then we’re 2-0 down from two chances. It is difficult and I almost didn’t understand how that happened. Bang, bang, we’re 2-0 down but we kept believing and that’s key.”

“[In the second half] As long as we didn’t concede a goal, I was pretty sure we’d win the game. Because we did create chances in the first half as well, it was just about taking them. I was quite happy with the performance. I felt we were growing more and more into the game and it happened. All credit to the players, they did really well.”

“I’ve said if you win your home games and get results away from home, you’ve got a good chance of going through. Tonight was a massive result. We got off to a slow start with the Young Boys game and, if we’re being honest, the red card has changed the game so that was disappointing. We didn’t play well against Villarreal, but we got the three points and dug in and I think tonight was a special night in terms of the togetherness, the spirit, the fight that we showed in the second half to keep believing and to keep pushing. Like I said, the fans gave us that. The energy that we felt from the fans in the second half was incredible.”

Jubilant fans went home singing Viva Ronaldo at the top of their lungs. Will their main man be able to stop a rampant Liverpool in the Premier League? If he is to have half a chance, he will need the defence to step up first…

Leicester City Snap Manchester United’s Unbeaten Away Streak

A ruthless Leicester City side has hammered a woeful Manchester United 4-2 at the King Power Stadium, to snap the Red Devils unbeaten away record that had stretched back to January 2020. 

The match was a microcosm of the past three seasons at United…

Some moments of brilliance, even more moments of incompetence, and a manager who clearly isn’t up to the job. 

However, United’s board seem intent on backing their man, and on current evidence can look forward to more days like this. 

As is the standard reply now, Solskjaer backed his players and said they need to learn and get better. 

One might wonder what some of the best players in the world, on eye-watering wages, still need to learn when it comes to representing United… 

When Patson Daka smashed in the fourth goal for a Leicester team who hadn’t won in the league since August, Solskjaer could only watch on motionless from the touchline, knowing that the 4-2 scoreline flattered his team, and that without their Man of the Match David de Gea, the scoreline would have been much worse. 

“The goals we conceded were disappointing, the timing of them and the way they were conceded,” Solskjaer said. “It says everything when your best player is probably David but still concede four goals.

“We didn’t deserve the points today. We gifted them the first goal. All the goals were disappointing, the way we conceded them. We were too easy to play through. It was the team as a whole. We need to be more compact and more aggressive. We didn’t defend well enough.

“We’ve been really good at showing our character when we’ve needed it. The attitude has always been good. We need to stick together and work hard. We need to perform better.

“You have to bounce back. You have to respond. We’ve had the international break to look at things.

“Everyone’s been away and maybe they came into this confident, because they’ve done well their international teams. But we need to sort this out.

“We have five games until the next break and we’ve got to stick together. There’s no other way to do it. You cannot lose focus; you’ve got to trust yourself, trust your teammates and make sure that we’re ready on Wednesday night because that will be a difficult game as well.”

We need to perform better, we need to work hard, we need to sort this out…

United fans are tired of hearing the same hollow words week in week out with nothing ever changing, and the man responsible for getting the team to perform better, work harder, and sort it out not doing those things. 

However, Solskjaer indicated he may finally be ready to ring the changes in terms of personnel and tactics ahead of the visit by Atalanta in the Champions League this week. 

“Over the international break, we have had a good look to see what has gone wrong lately,” he said. “But we need to look at the whole set-up and balance of the team and maybe something has to give. Lately, we have not been in great form, we’ve lost too many points and that is something we have to look at.

“We might have to change. Do we need more legs in there? What do we need?

“Every game is important in the league and the Champions League is hard.

“They’re big games, all of them. Leicester away is as big a test as Atalanta at home, for example. So, we’ve got to dust this off, maybe make sure that we come in again we have fresh minds, looking at themselves in the mirror. I look myself in the mirror, and make sure we perform again.”

With back to back games against Atalanta in the Champions League punctuated by league fixtures against Liverpool, Spurs, and Manchester City, things could get worse before they get better for United. 

The manager asked ‘What do we need?’ 

The answer is Zidane in the dugout. 

Uninspired Manchester United Slump To Home Draw With Everton

An uninspired Manchester United team have dropped more points at home, slumping to a 1-1 draw with an injury-ravaged side at Old Trafford. 

After a sublime piece of skill from Bruno Fernandes, United scored the opener on the stroke of halftime with a quality finish from goal-shy Anthony Martial, and spirits around Old Trafford were lifted at the sight of the Frenchman on the score sheet for the first time since March. 

However, United couldn’t find a second goal to kill off the game, and were hit on a superb counter-attack in the 65th minute, capped off with a goal by their nemesis, Andros Townsend. 

That much-maligned midfielder Fred had two opportunities to kill the counter and failed with both did him no favours with the Old Trafford faithful, and it seems his manager finally felt fed up, withdrawing him just five minutes later. 

What Solskjaer sees in the defensive midfielder who can’t defend, can’t pass, and has a woeful first touch is anyone’s guess…

After the equaliser Everton were much the better side, despite missing both Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and were unlucky not to go home with all three points after a tap in from Yerry Mina was correctly ruled out for offside just five minutes from time. 

Unlike in the Champions League fixture midweek, there were to be no stoppage time heroics as United have now taken just one point from their past two home Premier League fixtures. 

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was disappointed with his side’s result, saying “You’re disappointed you don’t get three points. That’s why we turn up. We turn up to get three points. We looked like we were on the way to a three-pointer with a good goal. Good first half, I thought. Pressed well. We created some good openings, good chances. Couple of good headers and crosses we could have done better with. Coming into half-time with a good goal Anthony scored was a good feeling. In the Premier League, being organised and focus is so important and to be organised behind the ball. Disappointed we conceded on our corner.”

“Last season against Everton we were 2-0 up and cruising and then they scored two in two minutes. They have players who can hurt you in moments, Gray, Townsend. The pace they have on the break… Unfortunately, for us they scored a great goal.”

“We’re well organised and we just don’t deal with a couple of those instances of the counter attack well enough. That’s something that happens in football.”

“Disappointed with the last two home games. Villa and Everton here, one point in those two is below our standard. We should be looking to win every game at home but you’re playing good teams as well. We have to keep on working, get better and then hopefully they’ll enjoy their international break, play some games and the rest who will stay here we’ll evaluate. We’re looking forward to Leicester.”

Football is a funny game. United are four points better off after the same number of games compared to last season, but the feeling this time around is that with the additions they made to the squad this team should be capable of getting home wins against teams such as Villa and Everton. 

If United’s lack of identity or system continues to see the club slip out of the title race, calls for Solskjaer to be replaced with Zinedine Zidane or Antonio Conte will only grow louder…

Late Ronaldo Strike Gives Manchester United Champions League Boost

It looked like being an awful night in what was becoming an awful run of outs for Manchester United. 

A goal down at home to Villareal, the same team who beat them in the Europa League final last season, and once again out of ideas, United were limping towards another defeat that would have seen them take zero points from their opening two group stage games. 

Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles were being tormented down the flanks, and if it wasn’t for goalkeeper David de Gea putting in a world-class performance, the yellow submarines would have sunk the red devils in the first half. 

However, as so often happened at Old Trafford during the Fergie years, United found something when they were off the boil, and grabbed an unlikely equaliser as Telles gained some form of redemption with a Scholes-esque volley on the hour mark. 

With Old Trafford brought to life, United pushed in search for a winner, and when it finally did come, it was who else but Ronaldo in the last minute of stoppage time, much to the delight of his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

“He’s done that so many times. You saw him against Ireland a month ago; he missed a penalty early, didn’t touch the ball more or less and scored two great headers in the last minutes.

“That’s what he’s done throughout his career. He stays in the game. I’ve seen him all day, the way he’s built up for this game, and when he gets that one chance, it’s a goal.

“He had a couple of half chances, but a true mark of a great finisher is that he keeps calm when the chance arrives.

“Thankfully, we had the best goalkeeper in the world tonight. David was fantastic. They deserved to lead.

“David has really come back [after the summer] with a determination and work rate I enjoy. Again, he got a deserved outcome. He saved us tonight. We have to be realistic and say that,” said Solskjaer. 

While it wasn’t a performance that will strike fear into clubs across Europe, the fans went home happy, leaving the stadium to the tune of ‘Viva Ronaldo’ and Solskjaer proved that, once again, he can get a result when he needs one. 

Aston Villa Give Manchester United Nightmares At Theatre Of Dreams

Aston Villa have left Old Trafford with three points and a bag full of confidence after outwitting, outplaying and outsourcing Manchester United thanks to an 88th minute headed goal from defender Kortney Hause.

United were given an opportunity to spare their blushes in stoppage time, however, Bruno Fernandes smashed his penalty over the bar and into the Stretford End to cap a miserable afternoon for the men in red. 

The final 0-1 scoreline even flattered the home side, who should have found themselves two goals down at the half, but for some woeful finishing from the visitors. 

The second half picked up where the first finished, with United bereft of ideas to counter Villa’s high tempo and high press, as the Villains dominated all areas of the pitch.

United were hamstrung with injuries, losing Luke Shaw in the first half and Harry Maguire in the second, but once again manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer showed he has no Plan B when Plan A isn’t working, only bringing on Edinson Cavani in the 81st minute. 

The manager felt the teams cutting edge let them down, as they had 28 shots in the match, but never really threatened the Villa goal. 

“I thought we were very good in the transitions, defensively we won the ball in good positions and we attacked quickly. But when we got up there, the final decision, the final execution, the quality in the pass or the shot or decision wasn’t good enough to get goals. The game ebbed and flowed and was probably a good game for the neutrals but unfortunately, we didn’t get a goal.”

“Against us on the corner you see the inconsistencies again with VAR and decision making because [Ollie] Watkins is clearly standing on or is touching David [De Gea] as the header has gone so he is offside, or it is a foul. The linesman did well, he reported it or called it in to VAR, but they turned the decision down and it is a goal unfortunately so, bad decisions again.”

“We should have, could have, slowed the game down at times. But when you have attackers who are very good on transitions with speed and skill, sometimes the decision then was rushed. We didn’t have enough control even though we had 60 per cent possession, 30 shots or whatever. But we know Aston Villa are a good team on transition as well with Watkins, [John] McGinn and [Jacob] Ramsey running forward with the wing-backs. But that wasn’t what hurt us though. It was the corner kick at the end and unfortunately Bruno [Fernandes] with one of his very, very rare misses.”

After losing three of their past four matches, united are deservedly coming in for criticism, and now face a daunting week with Villareal in the Champions League before a home match with Everton next Saturday. 

“Every time you’re defeated, you have to stand up for yourselves, stand up for your team, fight for your team and we will. The boys will. It’s a big game, a Champions League night and we know we’ve started that group badly, but we’ll be ready.”

Anything less than two wins from two and talk of a crisis won’t be far away…

Manchester United Back On Track With Dramatic Win At West Ham

Jesse Lingard

Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard has gone from villain to hero in the space of a week, scoring in the 89th minute to give his side a 2-1 come from behind victory at West Ham. 

The Lingard late show wasn’t the final act in a dramatic day, as much-criticised keeper David de Gea saved a Mark Noble penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time to ensure all three points would go back to Old Trafford. 

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was under fire after his teams Champions League loss in midweek, and the manager was delighted with the way his side responded today.

“We deserved three points [against West Ham]. It’s a hard place to come, here. Hopefully these points can make a difference. Let’s see [about the title] when we get towards April and May.”

“We have to defend better. We have to make it harder to break us down. For their goal the structure was wrong for whatever reason and we’ll have to work on it.”

“I’m so happy for him [Lingard] because you know it’s ups and downs in football. He was low on Tuesday, now high again, he scored against Newcastle, you’re up, you’re down, you’re up – but that’s football. You have to live with it and Jesse has learned how to deal with ups and downs in football. You know, if you play for Man United you have to live with it, be able to handle that scrutiny. Don’t worry about it because what we have to worry about is ourselves, what we do, what we say. We’re a group, we’re together, we work together, stick together through thick and thin. That’s never going to be any different. This is a family. It was a great goal. Of course, he had a tough evening on Tuesday but he’s knuckled down and worked hard again. He’s been the same bright, positive lad and what a goal. A great pass by Nemanja, a good turn by Jesse and a great goal.”

Cristiano Ronaldo continued his red-hot form since his return scoring his fourth goal in three matches, however, Solskjaer was left feeling aggrieved that his talisman was not awarded any of the three penalties he should have been given. 

“I’m going to be careful with what I’m saying, but you’ve got to be wondering what’s he’s got to do to get a penalty. The first [obstruction by Coufal] and the third [tackle by Ogbonna] is 100 per cent nailed on. The one where he gets pulled back [by Cresswell] is probably [not obvious], but it’s still a foul, he gets pulled down in the box. It’s frustrating but they’ve got to look at it. It’s two clear penalties. I think they’re stonewall. You can’t even argue against them. The first one, he puts his foot out and Ronaldo runs straight and is fouled. The last one, Paul had a foul against him on Zouma when he didn’t touch him but he went over him. Why is Cristiano’s not? Hopefully it won’t be that he’s never going to get a penalty.”

Despite some defensive failings, Solskjaer was happy with how his team played overall, and was grateful to come away from a tricky venue with another away win. 

“Very happy with the performances – 11 corners, a few big chances that we missed. First 10-15 minutes of the second half I thought we pressed them really well, made them give the ball away five or six times in their own box more or less, and it’s one of them, we can’t get a counter-attack every time we have a corner. There was a few having to sprint back a couple of times.”

“We have to work better defensively, no doubt. In the first half, we were too easy to play through. We will work on it because there is no respite when you play football. I’ve spoken about how you can’t take rests when you defend. We dropped into a back six [for the goal] and there were too many spaces. We were too late to charge the ball. We’ve already sorted that and spoke about that at half-time. It was better in the second half and a great response, that was a big thing for me – how do you react when you go 1-0 down? It was a very, very good five minutes for us.”

The match-winner Lingard, who spent the second half of last season on loan at the London Stadium with West Ham, is set to start as Solskjaer is expected to make a number of changes when the two teams meet this week in the Carabao Cup.

“Jesse was quite clear he wants to fight for his place and be part of a Man United team that is going places,” Solskjaer added.

“I can’t speak for Jesse now but he’s really contributing. He’ll play on Wednesday as I’ll make a few changes,” concluded Solskjaer.

Ronaldo Marks Stunning Manchester United Return With Two Goal Haul 

As the Reds ran out 4-1 winners against Newcastle United on a glorious afternoon at Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo marked his return to Manchester United in the only way he knows how – by scoring goals.

As United struggled to break down Newcastle, Ronaldo’s goal on the stroke of half-time was exactly what they needed.

Mason Greenwood, who had scored three goals in his first three games, hit a right-foot shot that Freddie Woodman was unable to hold onto, which Ronaldo took advantage of to the delight of a bouncing Old Trafford crowd.

In the 56th minute, Javier Manquillo equalized for Newcastle after a breakaway, but the no.7 scored again six minutes later in front of a jubilant Stretford End.

Bruno Fernandes added a beautiful third 10 minutes from time, before Jesse Lingard rounded off the win with a brilliant finish in injury time.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted with the second debut of the talismanic Ronaldo, who he says has already given such a boost to everyone at the club. 

“Cristiano senses the big moments and is ruthless. He is clinical. He has lifted the team and everyone around us. It’s just perfect for him, you see what he’s about, sensing the moment and smelling the danger but he’s also evolved into a proper team player. He has developed into a fantastic goalscorer. He played a very good game, dropped in and linked the play well.”

“When you win a game you enjoy it. When you see fans being happy, you really enjoy it. There were loads of expectations today. They all delivered.”

“When it gets back to one each, you never know how it is going to go. But I thought we settled well. We played the ball and, when Luke [Shaw] put on the afterburners! When he really went for it there and Cristiano is so good at timing his runs. It was a fantastic goal by Bruno. You know Bruno and his quality from those areas. I am very, very happy.”

“I’ve got say well done to the club and everyone for bringing in players to challenge. We’re bringing competitors but they’re good people and we have got a good and strong squad.”

United now travel to Switzerland, where they will open their Champions League group stage matches with a fixture against Young Boys. 

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