Ronaldo will be firing on all cylinders
Cristiano Ronaldo has been backed to get on the goal trail again, after the striker opened his account for the season in the 2-0 Europa League win at Sheriff Tiraspol.
Last term’s top scorer started pre-season late and has been eased into action by Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag, before starting the last two fixtures. The Portuguese was unlucky when his header was chalked off against Real Sociedad due to an offside call, but he was a man on a mission in Moldova.
The local fans were certainly thrilled to see our no.7 play in their city and many joined in with his famous ‘Siiuu’ celebration after he emphatically slammed in a penalty, awarded for a foul on his Portugal team-mate Diogo Dalot.
After representing his country in the UEFA Nations League, it is the Manchester derby that's next up on Ronaldo's schedule and Ten Hag believes the goals will continue to flow again soon for the world’s leading marksman.
“We could expect this, when you miss pre-season,” said the boss, when asked about Ronaldo’s performances gradual rise to fitness. “So he has to work really hard and invest to get the right fitness and then he will score more goals. You can see he is really close. When he gets fitter, he will finish them.”
When it was also suggested during the manager’s press conference – held in a sports hall adjacent to the Zimbru Stadium in Chisinau – that Ronaldo appears very engaged with his colleagues, the manager was unequivocal in his answer.“I think he’s totally committed to this project and totally committed to this team,” said Ten Hag. “Totally involved. You see also connections coming around him and he is constructing connections, so I am happy with that.”
Ronaldo missed the derby at the Etihad Stadium last season and will be keen to be involved next month, when the Reds begin a hectic schedule before the long pause to accommodate the winter World Cup in Qatar.