Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Ronaldo: Man Utd will never stop fighting after securing last-16 berth in historic Champions League

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Nov 2021

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Cristiano Ronaldo insisted Manchester United “will never stop fighting” after the superstar sent the embattled giants through to the Champions League knockouts following another record-breaking performance.

Ronaldo became the first player to score in the first five matches of a European Cup/Champions League campaign for an English team as United qualified for the last 16 courtesy of Tuesday’s 2-0 Group F win over Villarreal.

In the first match of the post-Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era, with interim boss Michael Carrick on the sidelines, Ronaldo broke the deadlock 12 minutes from the end for his 799th career goal before team-mate Jadon Sancho sealed the victory at the death away from home.

It has been a turbulent time for United, who had only won two of their previous eight games heading into the matchday five fixture, and Ronaldo revelled in the display.

“Always great to play in Spain, amazing to win in Spain, satisfying to score in Spain, a country where I always felt special,” Ronaldo wrote via social media, with United reportedly targeting Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino as Solskjaer’s permanent replacement.

“Congrats to the lads for a great victory that puts us where we belong!

“We are Man. United and we will never stop fighting for this club! Let’s go, Devils!”

Ronaldo’s strike against Villarreal was the third time he has scored the match-winning goal in the final 15 minutes of a Champions League match this season – the most a single player has ever done so in a single season in the competition (excluding extra time).

The 36-year-old has also scored six goals for United in this season’s Champions League; only Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2004-05 (eight) has ever scored more for an English club in a single group phase of the competition.

United captain Harry Maguire told BT Sport: “It’s massive for our season. It was tough and edgy in the first half.

“It was important to stay in the game and I thought the lads who came off the bench really helped us push on and the second-half performance was really good. The emphasis was getting a result.

“Coming away from home in Europe you have to be solid. We got what we deserved in the end because of the chances we created. We want to be on the front foot and aggressive and in the first half maybe we played with too much fear.

“But we spoke about that and the first goal came from pressure. Ronaldo has been brilliant. We need to get back to being solid because if we do that we have every chance to win games when we have him up front.”

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