3 things Solskjaer got right and 1 thing he got wrong as Ronaldo stars in win

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It took Cristiano Ronaldo just 45 minutes to re-open his Manchester United account, pouncing on a loose ball following Mason Greenwood's powerful effort, before the forward scored his second just after the hour mark.

The fairytale return had to happen, but it didn't appear to be going United's way as Newcastle were frustrating the hosts with their defensive organisation.

Ronaldo originally scored at the perfect time, tapping in from close range to put his side ahead going into the break, but Newcastle stunned the hosts as Javier Manquillo fired them level shortly after half time.

Just when it appeared that Newcastle may spoil Ronaldo's homecoming, the 36-year-old fired his side back into the lead, latching on to Luke Shaw's threaded pass.

Bruno Fernandes reminded fans that Ronaldo wasn't the only Portuguese star on show, as he fired a spectacular third to put the game to bed and Jesse Lingard added another late on.

It was the perfect day for Ronaldo and in the end for Man United, but it wasn't the complete performance that Solskjaer would've hoped for despite the convincing scoreline.

Deciding to start Ronaldo

It may have been a fairly frustrating encounter for Ronaldo upon his return to Old Trafford for large spells of the game, but the Portuguese star still stepped up just when United needed it most.

Whereas new singings Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane were eased in, Ronaldo was immediately handed a start against Newcastle and looked comfortable in the no.9 role.

Newcastle were extremely tough to break down all game, and it looked for a brief moment that they may have been in with a chance of leaving Old Trafford with a point.

Ronaldo was razor-sharp to latch on to a loose ball just four yards out, and his poachers instinct is something United have been missing, before adding a second in typical fashion with a drilled low finish to restore the lead.

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Keeping Greenwood on the right

Mason Greenwood has been fantastic for United this season, scoring in every Premier League game until Ronaldo's introduction, and it is clear the 19-year-old has a very bright future.

The youngster has filled in at no.9 this season when called upon, and has also delivered on the right, highlighting his versatility across United's front line.

His performance level continued against Newcastle as it was his shot that resulted in Ronaldo's opener, and the Englishman was prolific down United's right-hand side causing Steve Bruce's side problems all game.

There were worries that Ronaldo's arrival may hinder the development of Greenwood, but the decision to play them together looks to be paying off already.

Bringing in Matic

Nemanja Matic was brought in to partner up with Paul Pogba in the United midfield and it was a decision that worked wonders for allowing the Frenchman to have more freedom.

One criticism of Pogba playing in a central midfield role as opposed to playing further forward is that he cannot impose as much on the game, with his passing ability wasted in deeper areas.

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However, with a tough enforcer in Matic beside him instead of Fred, he was allowed the ability to roam and assisted Fernandes for United's third against Newcastle.

Fred has received criticism for not being solid enough in United's midfield, but Solskjaer's decision to bring in Matic may be a temporary switch that is applied more often until a future replacement is brought in.

Complacency at the back

United may have got the result they were looking for against Newcastle, but it easily could have been more than one goal that they conceded against the Magpies.

Manquillo fired the visitors level temporarily in the second half, but United were opened up on many occasions, as Newcastle caught them napping on the counter attack.

United may have signed Varane, but they still showed fragilities at the back when they switched off, and against more dangerous sides it could've been a different result.

It's a wake up call for Solskjaer, who will not want to see his side exposed like that in the future.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Manchester United FC
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
  • Premier League

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