Cristiano Ronaldo’s message to Man Utd players before Atalanta Champions League heroics

Cristiano Ronaldo’s first goal on Man Utd return in pictures

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Cristiano Ronaldo was encouraging Manchester United players before his heroics against Atalanta, according to Luke Shaw. The Portugal international scored twice in Italy to earn a draw for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. And they remain on course to reach the Champions League knockout stages as a result, having picked up seven points from four matches so far.

United were poor against Atalanta on Tuesday night, falling behind twice.

But Ronaldo ensured they return to Manchester with a point to their name, having scored twice on the night to secure a draw.

The 36-year-old’s first, on the stroke of half time, came after Josip Ilicic had put the Serie A side ahead when his low effort squirmed under David De Gea.

Atalanta then restored their lead in the second half through Duvan Zapata, who was a constant threat up top.

But United got a draw at the death through Ronaldo, who expertly volleyed home after some good work from Mason Greenwood.

It was yet another day where the veteran stood up to be counted when it mattered, saving Solskjaer from more criticism in the process.

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And Shaw, speaking to club media following the contest, has revealed Ronaldo was inspiring players before the match even got underway.

“It was a very difficult game,” said the England international.

“It’s of course not what we wanted, we wanted three points. That was the main focus, to win the game, take the three points.

“But the situation we were in, 2-1 down, last sort of five minutes, I think there’s probably only one person you want the ball to fall to and luckily it was him [Ronaldo]. He saved us again with a crucial goal.

“You see day in, day out the way he is, the way he conducts himself. He wants to win.

“Before the game, he’s always speaking, encouraging everyone and you know he’s going to be there.

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“You know he’s a very important player, he has been for many years now and he’s always in the right place at the right time.

“Not just tonight, he’s done it since he’s been here really.

“It’s incredible to have someone like that in your team when you need them most.”

Shaw also wants United to beat Young Boys next time out to ensure qualification for the round of 16 doesn’t hinge on matchday six.

“We obviously learnt from last year really, we need to. We don’t want to be in that situation again,” he said.

“We need to take charge [in the group], we need that confidence and belief that we can and should be doing it.

“And of course, we know that we still need to improve,” he added.

“We know that just because we beat Spurs 3-0 and we got an okay point out here we can’t just relax and get comfortable.

“We need to keep improving. We know that as a team and there’s much more to come with the talent we have in this squad. So, we need to keep focused, keep improving and getting better and better.”

Ronaldo himself, meanwhile, admitted United were fortunate.

“It was a difficult game,” said the forward.

“I know that when we play Atalanta it’s difficult and we believe until the end that I will help my team get the three points and I’m so happy.

“We never give up and believe until the end. It’s a good result for us I think.

“The beginning was tough, Atalanta have a fantastic coach and they know what to do.

“I knew when I played in Juventus. We did our job well. We are lucky I scored but that’s football.”

Ronaldo and United are next in action against Manchester City on Saturday. 

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