Ronaldo compared to Michael Jordan by Solskjaer following another heroic display against Atalanta

By Sports Desk November 02, 2021

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared Cristiano Ronaldo to NBA great Michael Jordan after the forward single-handedly dragged Manchester United to a 2-2 draw against Atalanta.

Ronaldo twice inspired United to come from behind, cancelling out strikes from Josep Ilicic and then Duvan Zapata as the Red Devils earned a 2-2 draw.

The Portugal international's brace prevented United from falling to a fourth successive away defeat in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time ever and keeps his side top of their group, level with Villarreal and two points better off than Tuesday's opponents.

Ronaldo also became the second-oldest player to have netted a Champions League double after Filippo Inzaghi (37 years and 86 days) in November 2010, and Solskjaer likened his forward's impact to that of former Chicago Bulls superstar Jordan.

"We all have our roles and responsibilities," Solskjaer told reporters at his post-match news conference. "Cristiano is a leader in the group, but that's what he does: he scores goals.

"We're not happy conceding two goals. Both of them are very, very fine margins. The first one I think should be off, the second one is a centimetre onside, probably. He's maybe offside last season, it's fine margins.

"But he does provide those moments. I'm sure Chicago Bulls didn't mind having Michael Jordan either.

"Sometimes the teams have the players they have, and that's why they are at Man United and why they are champions at Chicago Bulls – you come up with those moments."

United have won just three of their past nine games in all competitions, leaving pressure on the under-fire Solskjaer, but the former Red Devils star hailed the support his side continues to receive.

"It's a great feeling, that support for the team and for me personally. It makes you humble," Solskjaer continued.

"They know that all we want is for the team and the club to do well, of course we want to do our best, and I've appreciated the support recently."

Jadon Sancho, whose opportunities have been limited since joining from Borussia Dortmund in the close season, featured as a second-half substitute, and Solskjaer was satisfied with the England international's performance.

"I commit a crime every time I pick a team," he said. "There are always players that get left out. Against Tottenham, it was a different system, here again it was another different system.

"Jadon has got a fantastic attitude, the quality he has, and he was really sharp when he came on – the first header he cleared, and then he was really good on the ball.

"He's got a really big role to play for us for many years as a good player."

Related items

  • Struggling Arbroath stun high-riding Raith Rovers with second-half comeback Struggling Arbroath stun high-riding Raith Rovers with second-half comeback

    Bottom side Arbroath came from two goals down to beat Raith 3-2 and prevent them from going top of the cinch Championship.

    Rovers looked to be cruising after goals from Zak Rudden – a stunning finish with the outside of his boot from 20 yards – and Josh Mullin put them 2-0 up.

    But substitute Jay Bird pulled one back for Arbroath just after the hour with a fine turn and shot.

    Arbroath drew level when Kevin Dabrowski misjudged a high ball and Leighton McIntosh nipped in to score.

    The hosts then won it when Mark Stowe collected Connor Teale’s miscued shot and slotted home with 13 minutes remaining.

  • Football’s lawmakers set to ditch blue cards from sin bin trials after furore Football’s lawmakers set to ditch blue cards from sin bin trials after furore

    Blue cards are set to be dropped from sin bin trials planned by football’s lawmakers. the PA news agency understands.

    The cards were set to be unveiled as the method used to signal a temporary dismissal in trial protocols originally scheduled for publication on February 9, a move which would have marked the biggest change in managing player discipline in the professional game since the introduction of red and yellow cards for the 1970 World Cup.

    However, there was a largely negative reaction when reports about blue cards surfaced on the eve of publication, and the International Football Association Board, which sets the game’s laws, opted to delay publication of the protocol.

    The cards are now set to be scrapped following further talks between IFAB’s directors on the eve of the organisation’s annual general meeting in Loch Lomond, PA understands.

    The trial itself has not been revoked, but it is expected it will take place at a much lower footballing level than was anticipated by the original February 9 protocol, which was set to encourage applications from all but the very top-level competitions.

    The Football Association, one of the five bodies which makes up the IFAB, was understood to have been interested in running a trial in the men’s and women’s FA Cups in the future, before the furore around blue cards.

    There is also set to be further talks on Saturday about whether any sin bin trial should include tactical fouls, as well as dissent. Under the original protocol, all players on the pitch, including goalkeepers, can be temporarily dismissed.

    Sin bin trials were one of four protocols set for publication last month before the blue card story broke.

    The IFAB is also seeking to trial allowing referees the option of creating a ‘captain-only zone’ around them when they feel threatened or intimidated, and a trial where referees can send teams to their respective penalty areas to cool off in the event of mass confrontations.

    All of these, including the sin bin protocols, are ultimately intended to improve player behaviour at higher levels, something FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said is essential to set the right example to young players and ensure people still feel safe, and encouraged, to be referees.

    Another trial that had been set for publication on February 9 concerned how long goalkeepers can handle the ball, and how play should restart when they hold on too long.

    Currently keepers can hold on for six seconds and anything over that is supposed to be penalised with an indirect free-kick, but lawmakers are concerned this is not being properly enforced which is why a trial has been developed.

    The management of head injuries is also on the AGM agenda.

    The World Leagues Forum and world players’ union FIFPRO have again written to the IFAB asking for permission to trial temporary concussion substitutes, something which was again rejected at last year’s AGM in London.

    The player union and domestic league in Scotland, this year’s host nation for the AGM, are among those seeking the right to conduct such a trial.

    “From our perspective, we have a responsibility to those former players who are sadly living with dementia,” PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart said.

    “But we also have to take responsibility as a game – whether it’s the unions, leagues, the government bodies – for current players and future players, to minimise the chances, as much as we possibly can, of players getting dementia. We’re involved in this initiative because we do feel that temporary concussion subs are the next step forward.”

    Trials of permanent concussion substitutes were first approved by the IFAB in December 2020.

  • I will shine: Andre Onana regaining confidence after early struggles at Man Utd I will shine: Andre Onana regaining confidence after early struggles at Man Utd

    Andre Onana believes he has turned the corner off the pitch after a mentally “difficult time” during his start to life at Manchester United.

    Having joined in the summer from Inter Milan in a deal that could reach £47.2million, a string of errors quickly led pressure and scrutiny to mount on the 27-year-old shot-stopper.

    Onana became the butt of jokes but has knuckled down and is starting to become the confident, ball-playing goalkeeper Erik ten Hag and United wanted.

     

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Manchester United (@manchesterunited)

     

    “I already know the goalkeeper that I am,” the Cameroon international said. “It took me six months or seven months not to play good, just to feel good.

    “It was a difficult time for me. Now I’m feeling a bit better because everything was new, it was difficult for me to feel at home because of so many reasons, a new country.

    “But now I’m feeling good. I don’t want to talk about my performance because I know the goalkeeper I am and I have done much more than what I just did.

    “So, for me, the most important thing is to be set, to be happy and I will shine.”

    Onana spoke openly about his challenging start to life in England ahead of facing rivals Manchester City, who he produced a fantastic display against as Inter narrowly lost June’s Champions League final.

    “I don’t think (I was beating myself up too much after errors), but it was just moments,” the United goalkeeper said.

    “Sometimes you are facing difficult situations and I had a difficult six or seven months just feeling good, not playing good, because I think I didn’t start to play good (yet).

    “It was just something strange, I don’t know. It was also a good time for me to learn because I learned a lot at that time.

    “Playing in the final of the Champions League and being knocked out in the first stage after a few months, it was a big lesson for me.

    “Now I think I have everything on my back, learn it and move on, try to be happy. That is the most important thing.”

    Onana’s errors during United’s European exit were costly, but his performances have since improved markedly and he believes he is now on an upward curve.

    “Yeah, I think I had a turning point, but not on the pitch because, like I said, more mental because everything was different,” he said.

    “Of course, I moved last season from Amsterdam to Milan, but that adaptation was quite easy.

    “But it took me seven, eight months here. It was just time to learn and just go game by game. I hope we will end on top.”

    Onana produced another solid display as United kept hopes alive of ending a bumpy campaign with silverware by beating Nottingham Forest 1-0 in the FA Cup fifth round.

    How Ten Hag’s men could do with another clean sheet away to their treble-winning rivals on Sunday, when the goalkeeper wants to continue to repay the faith shown in him.

     

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by André Onana (@andreonana.24)

     

    “My team-mates, my players, they always reminded me who I am and the goalkeeper I am and why I came to this club,” Onana said.

    “They told me ‘Andre, it took some players two years, others six months, for others no time, and you have that personality to turn the situation (around)’.

    “They always believed in me, they told me from the beginning, ‘Andre, listen, the quality is there, it’s just a matter of time.’

    “I am very happy, especially with the supporters, the fans. They were nice with me even in difficult periods and I’m very thankful. I can only thank them.

    “I think everything is behind me. Now we have to move on and I think together a great time will come. We just have to do the right things and I think the future will be brilliant for all of us.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.