Cristiano Ronaldo has three demands of Man Utd team-mates after Brighton win
Man United in 2021: Ronaldo's return, Ole out and Rangnick revolution
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Cristiano Ronaldo was back among the goals for Manchester United as they battled their way to a 2-0 win over Brighton on Tuesday night. The Portugal international had previously failed to score in his last six appearances for the Red Devils. Yet a vintage strike paved the way for Ralf Rangnick’s side to pick up a first Premier League win since the winter break.
It’s been a frustrating time of late for Ronaldo.
Having turned 37, the years have appeared to be catching up to the 37-year-old in recent weeks with his goal drought of six matches his longest in over a decade.
On Tuesday night, however, the Portugal international rolled back the years to turn Old Trafford jeers into cheers.
It was an evening where the Glazers were again urged to leave the club, with some fans even calling on them to ‘die’ inside the stadium.
Yet Ronaldo spared them from an even greater backlash with a powerful effort in the 51st minute, setting his side on their way to all three points in the process.
Bruno Fernandes then added a second in injury time after Lewis Dunk had received his marching orders, boosting United’s chances of finishing in the Premier League top four in the process.
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And, after the game, Ronaldo took to social media to demand his team-mates don’t give up, work hard and work together.
“Back on track!” said the veteran.
“Nobody gives up and there’s only one way to get back on track: hard work, team work, serious work.
“Everything else is just noise. Let’s go Devils!”
It was clear from Ronaldo’s celebration that his goal against Brighton was a vital one.
The former Juventus and Real Madrid star ditched his trademark ‘Siu’ to roar into the crowd, the struggles of the last few weeks clearly on his mind.
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Fernandes, too, was ecstatic with his goal.
The United midfielder slid on his knees and shouted to the heavens, ending his own drought in the process.
It was his first strike since his side’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa at the start of January, with the goals drying up for the former Sporting Lisbon star this season.
Now, United supporters will hope this proves to be a turning point on their campaign.
They’re now back up to fourth in the Premier League table, though could be overtaken by rivals Arsenal and Tottenham if they both win their games in hand.
Given the inconsistency of those two sides, however, the Red Devils may be in a better position by already having points in the bag.
United also have the Champions League, too.
They face Atletico Madrid next Wednesday in Spain, with the reverse fixture then due to be played on March 15 at Old Trafford.
And Rangnick was delighted with the result after the game, saying: “Big win but we still have quite a few games to play after three draws.
“Two of them at home. This was a very important win and even so after the first-half today, today for a change we had a better second-half than the first-half and in the second-half it paid off, we were more aggressive, we were primed to intercept and attack them in higher positions, so a highly important win for us.
“It was different from the last three games because we were Dr Jekyll in the first-half and this time in the second-half.
“I think it’s better in the second-half when it’s still 0-0 we can win the game in the end. Today it was only about getting the three points.
“After the first-half, everyone could see it was not an easy game.
“They are in big form, they did extremely well with a diamond in midfield, it was very difficult to intercept and get hold of the ball.
“We had three or four transitional moments in the first-half, even in the first-half we had the better chances but they had too long periods of time with the ball and the supporters realised that and they were a little bit anxious and nervous in the first half and we had to take more risks in the second-half and attack them in higher positions.”
On Ronaldo, he said: “An amazing goal.
“Not only an important one but an amazing goal and I think overall it was a good performance by Cristiano.
“Energetically, he was always trying to help teammates and I think in the last weeks definitely the best performance by him and a very, very important goal for us.”
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