Cristiano Ronaldo hailed an “unbelievable” Manchester United performance as they delivered for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a thumping 3-0 win at Tottenham.
While Spurs now clearly have their own problems, United eased the pressure on their Norwegian manager with a resounding result in London.
A tremendous volley from Ronaldo put United in front after 39 minutes, and the 36-year-old played in Edinson Cavani to dink home the visitors’ second just after the hour, with substitute Marcus Rashford adding a late third.
It gave United their biggest away league win against Tottenham since February 2007, when they won 4-0 at White Hart Lane. Coincidentally, Ronaldo gave United the lead in that game too, during his first spell at the club.
Last weekend’s 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool left United at a low ebb, but this was a marked improvement, with Solskjaer picking three centre-backs and seeing the tactical shift bring about a sturdier display.
Ronaldo told Sky Sports: “We knew before the game that we had a tough week. We had results we didn’t really expect. The team was a little bit under pressure, a little bit sad, but we knew that today we would give a good answer. We played good, we started the game really well.
“My job is to help the team with my experience, with goals, with assists, and I did that today. In terms of the team, it was an unbelievable performance in my opinion.”
United had taken just one point from their previous four games in the Premier League, and a title challenge has begun to look unlikely even at this early stage of the campaign. Talk of Solskjaer being at risk of losing his job has ramped up, to the point that the Tottenham game looked like a must-win fixture.
“It was tough; we didn’t expect the last results in the Premier League. But I hope this time we changed the page,” Ronaldo said.
“It is not only the coach, that many people point out – it is the players as well. I believe that some things happen for a reason, and we have to be happy for this amazing afternoon.
“We won 3-0 in an away stadium against a difficult team, and we are so pleased for that and happy. Not only for the coach, for the club, for the players, it’s normal. The club is so big and the criticism is always there.”
Ronaldo had just three touches in the Tottenham penalty area, Opta match data showed, but he made the best of the half-chance that came his way from a raking ball by Bruno Fernandes.
When it comes to reaction to a team’s results, Ronaldo feels he has seen it all. Since the early days of his first stint at United, and through his time at Real Madrid and Juventus subsequently, his performances and those of his teams have always come in for the closest scrutiny.
That will not change because of this outcome, given United have a crunch midweek assignment against Atalanta in the Champions League, followed by next weekend’s derby against Manchester City.
“For me, it is not bothering me because I’ve played 18 years of football,” he said. “I know [the perception is that] one day is perfect and another day we are c**p. I know that, and we have to deal with that.
“But it’s always better when the people praise you and are happy with you, and you win. Sometimes you have to pass through bad moments, and we have to change, and we changed today.”
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