Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts to Cristiano Ronaldo performance

Toby Cudworth
Solskjaer never considered not starting Ronaldo
Solskjaer never considered not starting Ronaldo / OLI SCARFF/Getty Images
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was understandably delighted with Cristiano Ronaldo's two-goal showing in his first game back for Manchester United.

The 36-year-old led the line for United against Newcastle, his first appearance since completing a sensational return to the club from Juventus at the back end of August.

Ronaldo looked like he'd never been away, putting in the kind of display that we've become accustomed to seeing from a player who is now the highest goalscorer in men's international football history.

The Portuguese scored United 's opening goal and the winner in a 4-1 win, leading Solskjaer to exclaim his delight with how Ronaldo had performed amid exceedingly high expectations.

"I'm so happy for Cristiano Ronaldo," Solskjaer told BBC Sport. "I'm so happy for the team and supporters. You sense the atmosphere around the club since he signed. It could easily have been an anti-climax because expectations were so high.

"It feels like one of the old days. It’s special. Ronaldo is a special man and a special player for us in the history of the club.

"He senses big moments and scores goals. He’s clinical and he’s ruthless. He’s lifted the team and everyone around the club. Everyone is dreaming. They can dream and we’ll focus.

"We know we have the quality up front, we can score goals. I know we had to be patient, that was important today. When they scored at 1-1, it could go both ways. The players responded really well."

Asked whether he had considered not starting Ronaldo, Solskjaer simply added (via the club's official website): "No. Of course not. This is what Cristiano is about. This was a day for everyone to enjoy."

Ronaldo's return adds significant depth to United's frontline, which already boasts a number of top international players. Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood all started for the Red Devils against Newcastle, pushing Paul Pogba back into a more withdrawn midfield role.

There's also Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata waiting in the wings, which undoubtedly will give Solskjaer a major selection headache when everybody is fit and available to play.

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