Cristiano Ronaldo took the headlines with his winner as Manchester United beat Atalanta 3-2 after a dramatic comeback in the UEFA Champions League. Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who enjoyed many battles with Sir Alex Ferguson down the years, assessed our performance against the Serie A side for beIN Sports.
The talismanic Portuguese star headed home nine minutes from time – give the Reds a 3-2 victory after earlier goals from Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire to make a comeback possible.
Rashford was a starter for the first time since his recovery from shoulder surgery and it was clear to see his impact throughout the match as United create countless chances on the night.
The midfield combination of Scott McTominay and Fred was a source of frustration again for Paul Scholes, who gave his verdict to BT Sport during the match, but Wenger believes the Brazilian ace gave United a platform to spark up the important win.
Wenger told beIN Sports (via Manchester Evening News): “I would personally highlight the second half of Fred. Fred saved a few crosses in the box. Defensively he was outstanding and he worked unbelievably hard in the second half.”
He added: “The changes made a difference, [Paul] Pogba I thought did well.
“Pogba gave them more power out from deep in midfield by creating more dangerous balls.
“And when Pogba came on [Bruno] Fernandes became better.
“Fernandes had a poor first half but in the second half he came alive as well.”
Ronaldo was also hailed by Wenger as a “champion” after his late match winner granted United all three points.
"𝘙𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘥𝘰 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘮𝘱𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘶𝘱 𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯!" 👏
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) October 20, 2021
Footage courtesy of beIN Sports.
“I told you before the game that Ronaldo is a champion, and we see that is never by coincidence,” the 71-year-old added. “He turned up again with a wonderful header, and we forget many times when we speak about him how good he is in the air.”