Rio Ferdinand lauds Ronaldo but says Man Utd must improve.

FT: Atalanta 2-2 Man Utd.


Rio Ferdinand: "If United go out with that second-half performance against Manchester City they will get slapped again, three, four, five goals. The intensity was not there.”

Ronaldo gets Man Utd out of jail in the Champions League [Getty]
Ronaldo gets Man Utd out of jail in the Champions League [Getty]

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand lauded Cristiano Ronaldo for his sensational display against Atalanta in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.


The ex-England international also said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side must improve when they host rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford this weekend or else they will get spanked 3, 4, or 5 goals.


Atalanta opened the scoring via Josip Ilicic in the 11th minute as his strike went under the body of goalkeeper David de Gea into the net.

Duvan Zapata could have doubled the lead moments later but Eric Bailly was quick to respond as he blocked the shot.


And, in added-on time in the first half, following a brilliant combination play from Mason Greenwood, Ronaldo, and Bruno Fernandes, the former Real Madrid star registered his fourth Champions League goal of the 2021-22 season.

In the second half, Atalanta were in control of the game and took the lead for the second time in the 55th minute when Zapata ran free and chipped the ball over De Gea. The goal was initially cancelled for off-side but following a VAR check, the decision was overturned.

United looked as if they were heading for a defeat, only for Ronaldo to snatch a last-gasp equaliser that sent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to the top of Group F with two games left to play.


'The great man stepped up'


Ferdinand told BT Sport: "People say [Cristiano Ronaldo] doesn’t work hard enough but he does the hardest thing in the game - score goals. At that critical moment, he steps up - in any country, in any stadium, at any time. He just arrives on the biggest occasions and delivers.


"If United go out with that second half, performance against Manchester City they will get slapped again, three, four, five goals. The intensity was not there. You look at it and you say what formation are they playing? It was in disarray. Cristiano Ronaldo saved them in the second half.

"Raphael Varane covers both sides very well and as soon as he went off they just looked so shaky, a complete lack of confidence. They went to a four and it looked like Atalanta could get through this team at any time.

"United were fortunate Atalanta didn’t score anymore and the great man stepped up."



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