Seven United writers react to our famous comeback
What did you think about the game on Wednesday night?
Stuffed with action and talking points, the game will fuel conversations for days and our editorial team in particular is overflowing in hot takes from Old Trafford.
Read the thoughts of seven club reporters below and see if you agree…
God I’ve missed this!
Wednesday night was my first as a fan – rather than working – at Old Trafford since December 2019 and what a brilliant game it was to make a return. The sights, the smells, the sounds came flooding back as United surged on to victory in the second half, the noise escalating as Rashford, Maguire and then, inevitably, Ronaldo forced the ball home. Jumping up and down along the row as our no.7’s header nestled in the corner of the net, I hugged the stranger next to me as we basked in another glorious European comeback, then virtually bounced down Warwick Road to get the tram back into town. Even that service breaking down at Cornbrook – apparently because of too many people on board! – couldn’t ruin the mood. Glory, glory Man United!
90 in 20: United 3 Atalanta 2
Watch 20 minutes of the very best action from our 3-2 win over Atalanta on matchday three...
United in every sense of the word
Whenever the pressure is on us and external criticism is flowing, our club historically comes out fighting and that has certainly been the case throughout the last week. The squad’s frustration was obvious at Leicester City last Saturday and the mood at Carrington this week has been focused.
I thought our press conference on Tuesday was bristling with tension in the best possible way, as the manager and Marcus Rashford gave noticeably strong answers to the media. Cristiano Ronaldo then delivered a rallying cry to the fans that night and Old Trafford was raring to go on matchday.
The first half against Atalanta did not go our way, of course, but we didn’t play badly and the group stuck together in challenging circumstances, producing a gutsy comeback that will go down as one of our most dramatic Champions League nights in M16. Say what you like about our season so far, but nobody can tell me this squad isn’t desperate to achieve success, both for the boss and us as fans. Up the Reds!
LARS MAGNUS ROYS
It was one of those European nights where everything about Manchester United just came together: the drama, the support from the stands, the local hero scoring to ignite hope, the skipper equalising with 15 minutes to go and then, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo finding the winner late on. Personally, I prefer a 3-2 victory like that over a 5-0 any day, purely because of the nervousness, excitement and memories a match like that creates. I said to my colleague at 2-2: “odds on Ronaldo scoring the winner here?” You could just feel a classic United comeback coming, and the turnaround just epitomised the club’s never-say-die attitude. A special European night at the Theatre of Dreams.
Positivity and belief go a long way
There appears to be a growing divide between the mood on social media and that within the ground on a matchday, which I find sad and rather hard to take. Let there never be any doubt that a crowd can influence the outcome of football matches - whether it's providing a gee-up, a lift or the sort of heady atmosphere that engulfed Old Trafford when one of our favourite sons came up clutch again on the European occasion.
Watching United is meant to be fun, enjoyable and a release from everyday pressures and routine, not merely an excuse to grumble and grouch and somehow still look for faults in a stirring recovery, of which there have only been two from two goals down in our long history with the competition.
Solskjaer leaves to chants of 'Ole, Ole, Ole!'
❤ Watch our incredible footage of the boss, leaving the pitch to a huge ovation from the Stretford End...
Evolution of a GOAT
Amid the topsy-turvy chaos of our first ever match with Atalanta, I have to admit to experiencing a weirdly existential moment while watching on from East Stand Upper. Following all the hullabaloo surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the Reds, for various reasons (cheers Covid) this was the first time I’d seen him back on the pitch and in the flesh since he came back. And looking down from my lofty seat in the stands, I took a moment to try and reconcile that man in the no.7 shirt with the boy I’d watched make his debut against Bolton 18 years previously.
Back then the young whippet was flying down the wings with naive, breathless vigour, introducing himself to M16 and the world. Now, nearly two decades later and having won just about everything there is in the game, he was stationed up front, encouraging and cajoling his team-mates as they saw the Italians take hold of the game, leading from the front as the Reds roared back, and – of course – stealing the show with yet another late, late winner. Good to have you back, Ronny.
Maguire: I've dreamt of nights like this
Harry Maguire was a very proud man after his first Champions League goal at Old Trafford, against Atalanta...
We all knew it was possible
I remember, aged six, being picked up by a stranger at my first European game at Old Trafford, our 7-1 win against AS Roma. I found myself on the other end of that last night in the Stretford End, turning around to the beaming kid behind me and lifting him into the air as Harry Maguire levelled things up.
There was a defiant energy about the stadium at the start of the second half, a belief and a hope that is borne in the club’s history but also in the many comeback wins over the last 18 months. We knew it was possible, and it was. There’s a special connection between players, coaches and fans at the moment, from Maguire’s fist bump to Darren Fletcher’s crowd-raising arm-waving at full-time. Ole came up with the best moment, though, pointing towards The Red Army section in his BT Sport interview. Reading his quotes in the pub and on the tram home after only made the mood better. A brilliant comeback win and a set of players and coaches who truly appreciate the Old Trafford support. You can’t ask for more.
Pogba: We showed our character
Paul Pogba praised the fans and the team spirit after our comeback win over Atalanta in the Champions League...
These are the nights you live for
Last night's epic night at Old Trafford was the kind only our great club could conspire to create, time and time again. A first half which we never deserved to be 2-0 down at the end of, was followed by a typical thrill-a-minute United-style comeback, alongside an incredible backing from the OT faithful, who willed every effort at goal to hit the back of the net. Thankfully that happened three times - first Rashford early on after the restart, then as the clock ticked down Maguire and, of course, that boy Ronaldo struck. Cue belam on and off the pitch, not to mention a massive three points. These are the nights you live for, may there be many more.