Man Utd star Cristiano Ronaldo can silence Graeme Souness vs Atalanta and Man City

Lingard thrilled to have Ronaldo back at Man Utd

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Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping to silence his critics once again as Manchester United prepare to enter a pivotal week in their season so far. The Portuguese was influential as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw the pressure on his shoulders alleviated following an impressive 3-0 win over struggling Tottenham on Saturday.

Ronaldo struck home an incredible volley for the opener and later set up Edinson Cavani to double the advantage as Man United bounced back from their humiliating 5-0 defeat against Liverpool.

The 36-year-old sealed his return to Old Trafford this summer after 12 years away at Real Madrid and Juventus.

The crowd favourite made an immediate impact with two goals on his second debut against Newcastle United.

He also struck crucial winners in Champions League ties against Villarreal and Atalanta after Man United had fallen behind in both games.

But the five-time Ballon d’Or winner had drawn criticism from pundits such as Sky Sports’ Graeme Souness for his lack of work rate off the ball.

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Souness singled out Ronaldo’s differing style when out of possession in comparison to the high pressing tactics that Solskjaer wants his side to carry out and believes it is a “major problem”.

Asked if Ronaldo will make United a better team, Souness replied: “No. Can I start off by saying how many people can sit in a room and say they’ve been the best player in the world, or the best ever, he can genuinely have that conversation with anybody that’s kicked a ball.

“In terms of him making them a better team, no. I think Manchester United have a major problem now.

“They have to play a way Ole doesn’t want to play. If you’re pressing, you can only press when every single player takes part and he won’t do that.

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“So they can’t be that high pressing team that Liverpool are, that Manchester City are, that many of the best teams are playing right now.”

Souness’ comments came before their worst defeat to Liverpool in 96 years at Old Trafford where Ronaldo was a mere bystander, aside from his goal being ruled out for offside with the contest all but over.

And the Scot’s prediction that United would struggle came true as Liverpool carved their way through their hapless opponents.

“He will score goals and excite the crowd, but I don’t think you can start every single game with him.

“Liverpool will be able to get out at Manchester United, I imagine. They will be able to pass their way out from the back — and that will cause United a problem.”

But Ronaldo proved once again that when the chips are stacked against United, he can provide a special moment of quality.

In that moment of the game, United were on top but struggling to find a way past Tottenham. But on 39 minutes, his movement and execution of the volley were equally perfect.

Even operating in an unfamiliar setup did not faze Ronaldo, who was asked to share the attacking burden with Cavani.

The Uruguayan boasts incredible fitness levels like his strike partner Ronaldo but can often appear to be off the pace when chasing the ball high up the pitch.

But now that Solskjaer has combined the two, it could provide the perfect solution for the pair to thrive and help close down defenders when in possession.

Former United defender turned pundit Gary Neville, who was co-commentator for the game on Sky Sports, heaped praise on Ronaldo for his role in the victory.

“He’s done his job incredibly well, that is really special [his first goal],” he said.

“The technique, he makes everything look absolutely wonderful when he does it. The work to get Cavani in was fantastic.

“The Cruyff-turn on the counter and the composure when the game was frantic he slowed it down and played a magical pass into Cavani.”

United face two difficult two fixtures ahead as they travel to Bergamo to face Atalanta before the Manchester derby on Sunday against Man City.

Ronaldo has already struck six goals in all competitions this season and if he can fire the Red Devils to victory in their next two games, it would surely force his critics like Souness to retreat into silence.

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