CRISTIANO RONALDO admitted Manchester United were LUCKY as his late volley rescued a 2-2 draw at Atalanta in the Champions League.
The Portuguese scored both goals as United came from behind twice in Italy b- ut it was his 92nd minute strike that stole headlines once again.
Ronnie first got United back on terms when he finished off a fantastic move in the dying stages of the first-half after Josip Ilicic had put the hosts 1-0 up.
And he saved Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s blushes – and probably his job – as his inch-perfect volley from the edge of the box at the death cancelled out Duvan Zapata’s second-half effort.
United have relied on the 36-year-old superstar to save them late in games on countless occasions since his return – and he urged them to improve next time out.
He said: “It was a difficult game. I know when we play in Bergamo it is always difficult, but we believe until the end and I am so happy.
“We never give up, we believe until the end, it is a good result for us.
“The beginning was tough, we knew Atalanta would do a lot of pressure, they have a fantastic coach.
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“When I played at Juventus they were always difficult to play against. We were a little bit lucky in the end but that is football.
“We have to still improve, we have different players, different system, we have to adapt with each other, but it will take time. We have time to improve and be better.”
Ronaldo and Eric Bailly were United’s two best players with SunSport gibing them nine and eight out of ten, respectively.
But the main focus was on the former Real Madrid man after the final whistle – and his old team-mate Rio Ferdinand was one of thousands of fans worldwide heaping praise on the goal machine.
‘HE STEPS 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.”
Solskjaer may still come in for criticism after his team’s performance but it will not be as intense after Ronaldo’s late intervention.
And the Norwegian praised his ‘incredible’ star afterwards.
He told BT Sport: “It is a tight game, flowed both ways, their two goals were very tight and we thought the first was offside, I thought he interfered with David De Gea’s view.
“But Cristiano is just incredible if there is anyone you want a chance to fall to and a difficult chance, it is just incredible…
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“That is football, no one can question the character of these players, because they don’t ever give up and give in, they just keep going. We had to make changes and they worked.
“The goal was a proper team goal, great quality on the passing, four or five or six passes before that little exchange as well.
“You don’t plan to concede a goal, I thought it was offside, usually he would save that one. The atmosphere was electric, very physical and hard to play against.”
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