Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer snapped back after a reporter’s claim about his players, and urged any critics of Cristiano Ronaldo to look and learn from tonight’s showing.
Manchester United roared back from 2-0 down to secure a critical 3-2 victory in the Champions League. Atalanta went into the break two goals to the good, though the scoreline could’ve been an altogether different one had the hosts been clinical in the final third.
With pressure mounting on Solskjaer in recent weeks and sat provisionally bottom of the group given other scores at the time, United had a half to rescue an ailing European campaign.
What followed was a momentous comeback started by Marcus Rashford, continued by Harry Maguire and completed by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Speaking to BT Sport after the match Solskjaer said: “The fans are a big part of this club. The singing section there kept the players going with their belief. That is what you do at Manchester United on a Champions League night.
“This corner of the stadium here are the best in the world. There is a bit of time when you are down as a supporter but you keep going.
“I thought we played well first half too. Two chances, two goals. It had to stop if we are to survive. We have a habit of doing this at this club [going behind]. I thought we played well and they scored a goal out of nothing and then another set-piece. But they never stopped believing and kept going.”
When BT’s reporter stated that tonight’s comeback proved Man Utd’s players were still playing for Solskjaer despite recent poor results, the Norwegian retorted: “Don’t disrespect the players.
“They play for Manchester United and they know they are the luckiest men in the world. Tonight they are the luckiest men in the world because they get to play for Manchester United. That is what so many millions of boys and girls want to do.
“He had chances in the first half but Marcus kept on going. He got a knock but he is going to be very important for us.
“It was instinctive finish from Harry. I don’t think you would have expected him to score that one. And Cristiano is great in front of goal. If anyone wants to criticise him for effort and work-rate just watch this game. Watch how he runs around.
“At half-time, I said make sure we get the next goal, because then we win the game. As long as we don’t concede I was pretty sure we would win the game. It was just about taking chances.”
Maguire sick of conceding same type of goals
United captain Maguire also spoke to the press, telling BT Sport: “The first half we conceded two bad goals. Two big moments in the game.
“For the first they caught us out and then the second it is a set-play that we shouldn’t be conceding. We created a lot of chances in the first half so we knew at half-time that the next goal would be crucial.
“We got the goals we needed and deserved and I think we deserved the win in the end. Yes, we made it difficult but it is a tremendous victory in the end.
“I had eyes on it all the way [Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal]. I was right behind him. His leap, his timing, it was perfect right in the corner.
“We see it day in, day out in training and in the goals he has scored throughout his career. He has come up with a massive goal for us again in the Champions League.
“It is normally with my head [that Maguire scores]. I have not managed to put one away. It is my first goal for the season and the Champions league. A proud moment with my family here.
“We were two goals down and we need to sharpen up with that. But we had plenty of chances. I think Marcus [Rashford] had two one-on-ones in the first-half.
“We are working hard to be more solid but it is about winning and the last three or four games we have conceded too many set-pieces. It is fine margins but we need to do better. We showed great togetherness. We were clapped off at half-time by some of these fans and they gave us the belief we needed.”