Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revelled in Cristiano Ronaldo’s hugely successful second Manchester United debut after the veteran forward scored twice against Newcastle United.
Solskjaer’s United were 4-1 winners at Old Trafford on Saturday, as the returning Ronaldo started and netted the opener before restoring the hosts’ lead following Javier Manquillo’s equaliser.
Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard added stunning late strikes, but this was Ronaldo’s day – just as the United fans had hoped.
More than 12 years on from his previous Premier League outing – a record gap – the 36-year-old delivered the goods once again.
Solskjaer told Sky Sports he did not consider starting Ronaldo from the bench as “this is what Cristiano is about – this was a day for everyone to enjoy”.
Enjoy it the home fans did, seeing their side attempt 21 shots – including six from Ronaldo – in a thrilling attacking display, even if Newcastle were in the game for long periods.
“When you win a game, you enjoy it,” Solskjaer said. “When you see fans being happy, you really enjoy it.
“There were loads of expectations. They all delivered. We have to deliver every time. That’s Manchester United. It doesn’t change.”
The link-up between Ronaldo and Fernandes was the source of particular encouragement given their lack of fluency at times for Portugal.
Only Mohamed Salah (32) has scored more Premier League goals than Fernandes (30) since he joined United, yet his international tally has increased by just three in that time.
The midfielder linked up effectively with Ronaldo on Saturday, however, even outside of their goals.
To no player did Ronaldo play more passes than his nine to Fernandes, while there were 11 in return. The only chance Ronaldo created was for his compatriot.
“Good players can always play together,” Solskjaer said. “They have a mutual respect and play for Portugal together.”
Fernandes agreed, adding: “Everyone knows what Cristiano brings to the club and the world of football.
“It’s about everything we can do for the team, and getting results. Good players can always be good together and play in the same team.”
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