Cristiano Ronaldo’s second comeback at Manchester United has already created two memorable moments with the late winners against Villarreal and Atlanta to take the Red Devils to the last 16 of the Champions League.
However, Ronaldo’s return has also come at a cost, with Ole Gunnar Solskj آدمیr’s men increasingly looking like a separate group of talented people rather than a team.
United were ready for their fifth defeat in eight games when Atlanta took a 2-0 lead at half-time at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
A thrilling second-half fight eased the pressure on Solskir as United climbed from bottom of Group F to full-time at break.
Ronaldo completed the comeback with a powerful header after being brought to the home side level by goals from Marcus Rashford and Harry McGuire.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been on fire in recent weeks as his arrival has had a detrimental effect on the rest of the team.
Ronaldo’s failure to run the ball has been investigated as the reason for Greece’s terrible defensive record.
But he is reaching the other end with six goals in nine matches.
“He’s great in front of the goal,” Solsker said. “If anyone wants to criticize him for his work rate or attitude, just watch this game. See how he runs.”
A much-needed three points reduces the risk of falling into the group stage for the second season in a row, although there is still much work to be done for the Atlanta and Villarreal tours.
Before the tour of Liverpool’s Old Trafford on Sunday, the lighthouse also comes to light, Tottenham and Manchester City will also come before the international break in November.
United have won just one of nine possible points against Austin Villa, Everton and Leicester in the Premier League to drop five points from the leaders.
“That first half was annoying. It looked like nothing more than a team,” said former United United midfielder Paul Schulz.
“Can they play Liverpool like that? Never in a million years. Can you play Manchester City like that? Can you play a top Champions League team like that?
“I don’t want to sound like a party popper, but this first half was a big hassle for me.”
Not the first time this season, Solskir owed a huge double save to goalkeeper David de Gea when Atlanta took a 2-1 lead in the last 20 minutes.
Despite the Spanish goalkeeper’s return to his best form, United have so far kept just one clean sheet in their last 20 games.
“We need to defend better, I know,” Solsker added. “It simply came to our notice then.
“Today, (we accepted) another easy goal and we need to eliminate it because we are playing good teams in the next few weeks.”
Almost three years in charge of Solskjیرr have been full of ups and downs. It has yet to win a trophy, but the club is regularly credited with bringing it back into the top four of the Premier League and has consistently reached the final stages of the cup competition.
Ronaldo’s return has started another roller coaster season, but the wheels could go down in the next few weeks until there is a clear improvement in performance.