After a disappointing first half, United was able to turn it around thanks to some impressive second-half goals.
Manchester United’s win at Wolves was dominated by Ronaldo talk. It gave us our swagger again and is a big boost for the team.
WOLVERHAMPTON, England – WOLVERHAMPTON, England – Cristiano Ronaldo was everywhere as Manchester United defeated Wolves 1-0 at Molineux on Sunday, despite the fact that he was 1,500 miles away in Lisbon.
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The amount of Portuguese flags in honor of the new arrival from Juventus, or the continuous buzz of the 3,000 United supporters chanting “Viva Ronaldo,” there was no avoiding the sole topic on everyone’s mind.
“Having him back is like a dream,” United goalkeeper David de Gea said. “It will be fantastic: it already is, as shown by the mood. Hopefully, he can bring something unique to the table to help the squad improve.”
Among the visiting fans was a life-size cardboard figure of the 36-year-old, dressed in his former United jersey, who danced about during a game that saw Solskjaer’s squad ripped apart by another fast striker, Wolves’ Adama Traore, for long periods. United would have been easily defeated before Mason Greenwood won the game with a right-footed strike in the 79th minute if Traore had even a quarter of Ronaldo’s merciless ability to convert opportunities. Traore’s speed and strength are intriguing, but his return of seven goals in 146 games for Wolves says it all about his final product.
In the end, United had a lucky win, particularly given that Paul Pogba might have been sent off for a tackle on Wolves player Ruben Neves that went unpunished by referee Mike Dean in the build-up to Greenwood’s goal.
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Solskjaer’s side owed a big thanks to De Gea for the victory, which put them to third place, two points behind early leaders Tottenham. De Gea made a number of important stops, the most notable of which was his double-stop from Romain Saiss in the second half. It also guaranteed that United extended their undefeated run away from home to 28 league games, a new English record.
During Man United’s victory against Wolves on Sunday, supporters handed around a life-size cutout of Ronaldo. Getty Images/Michael Regan
However, we witnessed a United team that is still a work in progress under Solskjaer in this last encounter before Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford. De Gea, as well as Harry Maguire and newcomer Raphael Varane, were excellent. Luke Shaw was also excellent, but Fred was a disaster waiting to happen in midfield, dropping the ball on many occasions, while forwards Jadon Sancho and Daniel James provided nothing throughout.
Ronaldo, who was in Lisbon for a physical before returning to Old Trafford after the international break, may have looked at his new teammates and wondered what he was getting himself into.
When he left Manchester United for Real Madrid in 2009, he was departing a team that had world-class players like Wayne Rooney, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes, and Carlos Tevez. He’ll be returning to a completely different United team, one that hasn’t won anything since 2017 and hasn’t won the Premier League since Ferguson resigned in 2013. However, Ronaldo’s comeback will benefit the squad and the club in many ways. For starters, he’ll sprinkle a lot of stardust all over Old Trafford, but he’ll also give United a fearsome cutting edge up front, demand more from his teammates, and give the supporters something to shout about.
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United fans have been delighted since the club hijacked Manchester City’s pursuit of their old hero to clinch a deal with Juventus on Friday, and the atmosphere has totally changed for a fan base that was in open rebellion against the Glazer family last season.
Tony, a traveling United supporter, told ESPN, “It’s the greatest thing ever.” “Since he left 12 years ago, we’ve wanted Ronaldo back, and I don’t care how old he is or what he’s done since then. I can’t wait for him to make his [second] debut for us because he’s still the greatest player in the world.”
Pete, another United supporter, told ESPN that Ronaldo’s comeback had restored some of the faith the club had lost since Ferguson’s departure eight years ago.
He added, “Having Ronaldo back gives us our swagger back.” “United has long prided itself on having the greatest players and biggest stars, something we have lacked for many years. But, all of a sudden, we have Ronaldo back, and it feels wonderful to say that.”
Man United went on to defeat Wolves due to Mason Greenwood’s late strike, but with Ronaldo’s coming, expectations for an immediate effect are sky-high. Getty Images/OLI SCARFF/AFP
United are now waiting for Ronaldo to finish his physical before formally announcing his signing. United and Juventus have agreed on a price of €15 million plus €8 million in add-ons. Ronaldo is set to play for Portugal against the Republic of Ireland in Faro on Wednesday, before going on to play for Qatar and Azerbaijan, but Solskjaer wants him in Manchester as soon as possible.
“We need to get all the paperwork done,” Solskjaer added. “Hopefully, we can get everything resolved and announce it 100 percent before he leaves with Portugal.” “They have three games left, the last of which is on Tuesday [September 7], so we can bring him back to Manchester and ideally get him involved as soon as possible.”
“He hasn’t signed a contract to sit on the bench. Of sure, he’ll help us become a better squad.”
The difficulty for Solskjaer is that, although Ronaldo would certainly improve United’s offensive capabilities, the team still has problems in midfield, both in terms of balance and personnel. Solskjaer wants a strong midfield behind him and Pogba free to play in a more forward role than the holding one he was assigned with Fred at Wolves to get the most out of Ronaldo.
However, all managers have selection and tactical challenges. The difference for Solskjaer – and this is a good thing – is that no one else has the luxury of calling on Ronaldo to cover any flaws.
There are no drawbacks for United in having Ronaldo back, both on and off the field.
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