Manchester United hung on to secure a nervy 2-1 win against Everton away at Goodison Park in Sunday’s late kick-off.
United fell behind after Alex Iwobi’s fine long-range curler found the net but came back strongly and goals from Antony and substitute Cristiano Ronaldo meant United went into the break ahead.
It was a record-breaking night in terms of United’s goalscorers. The Brazilian winger has now scored in all three Premier League games since his arrival from Ajax while United’s No 7 notched his 700th club goal, an astounding feat.
United trio shine
They had to hold on in the second-half as the Toffees launched aerial balls into the box for their tall strikers to attack but United defended resolutely and the win means United have climbed up to fifth.
Question marks were raised regarding the players’ mentality to respond to adversity after their Derby thrashing and struggles against Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League.
Erik ten Hag: " The reaction of the team was good. That was one of our aims – to deal with setbacks." #MUFC
— United Zone (@ManUnitedZone_) October 9, 2022
And they responded by coming back from a goal down and by putting their bodies on the line when it mattered towards the fag end of the contest.
And the fire burnt brightest among the players who have found the going tough under Erik ten Hag.
The Dutch manager made a few significant changes including a long awaited start for Casemiro and Luke Shaw while Anthony Martial‘s injury early in the first-half meant Ronaldo got his much-deserved chance.
All three have not played as much as they would have liked and fans and pundits have frequently asked for the Brazilian to start games.
And he committed the error which led to Frank Lampard’s team taking the lead and he was frequently pressed by the opposition when he had the ball.
But the former Real Madrid did not let his head drop and he frequently broke up play, made crucial interceptions and his assist for Ronaldo’s 700th goal was perfect.
Squad getting stronger
Shaw has found himself on the bench since Tyrell Malacia’s arrival. But after a couple of underwhelming displays, the English international finally got his chance to impress the boss and he did great.
His recovery runs were fantastic, he was a constant outlet in attack and was solid in his defensive work. His performance had shades of 2020-21 when Alex Telles‘s arrival forced Shaw to up his game.
Ronaldo’s struggles have been well-documented this season but the Portuguese silenced his critics and sent his manager a message by scoring what proved to be the winner.
Apart from his finely taken goal, he pressed intelligently and was a constant outlet as United tried to hold on to the ball in the second half.
With Martial again injured and with games coming thick and fast, Ronaldo’s confidence will get a huge boost and that will be music to Ten Hag’s ears.
Ten Hag is slowly getting a squad hungry for action and itching to perform and that will bode well for the Red Devils as they try and negotiate and packed and tricky October schedule.
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