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Solskjaer hails sensational Ronaldo performance

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has lavished praise on Cristiano Ronaldo after the returning Manchester United great followed his eve-of-match speech to teammates with a double on his Old Trafford homecoming against Newcastle.

Back in a redshirt for the first time in 12 years on Saturday, the 36-year-old superstar predictably wrote another unfeasible script, enjoying a dream second debut for the club in the 4-1 win.

“I’m so happy for him, so happy for the team, the supporters, you can sense the atmosphere around the club since Cristiano signed,” said manager Solskjaer.

“It could so easily have been an anti-climax because expectations were so high – but he has delivered again.”

Asked about the atmosphere at the ground, where fans stayed behind long after the whistle singing Ronaldo’s name, Solskjaer couldn’t resist the sense of nostalgia.

“It feels like the old days, to be honest, it is special. Cristiano is a special man, a special player in the history of the club and by coming here, he has just shown his love for the club – and the supporters love him, of course,” he said.

Solskjaer reckons Ronaldo is an improved model of the man who lit up the Premier League 12 years ago.

“He’s developed into a miles better footballer than when he was here, through the years. Sometimes he can drift up to the sides, you’re not going to use him as a battering ram. He likes to roam.

“I thought he played the game very, very maturely. He gave one ball away. But he was very efficient with his football,.”

Ronaldo scored from close range in first-half stoppage-time and fired United back into the lead after Javier Manquillo had drawn Newcastle level early in the second half.

Bruno Fernandes fired home a 25-yard rocket and substitute Jesse Lingard scored a lovely goal towards the end of the match to wrap up a 4-1 win that saw their deadline-day signing make an immediate impact.

Solskjaer also revealed that Ronaldo had given “a little speech to the boys” on the eve of the game but was coy about what his former teammate had said.

“Of course everyone, when they come into the team, they have to introduce themselves,” the United manager said with a smile. “Maybe not everyone knows his name. At least they do now!”

 

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