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He’ll score more!

Updated on: 29 October,2022 08:52 AM IST  |  Mumbai

Erik ten Hag insists Cristiano Ronaldo can match last season’s performance of 24 goals as star striker returns with crucial strike in 3-0 win over Sheriff

He’ll score more!

Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo (third from left) scores the team’s third goal during the UEFA Europa League match against Sheriff Tiraspol at Old Trafford in Manchester on Thursday. Pic/AFP

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag believes Cristiano Ronaldo is still capable of scoring over 20 goals a season despite limiting the 37-year-old’s game time so far this season. Ronaldo was dropped from the United squad for last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea after refusing to come on as a substitute four days previously in a 2-0 win over Tottenham. The performance against Spurs was hailed as the best of Ten Hag’s reign so far and further evidence that United are a better team without the presence of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Three in 13 appearances

But Ronaldo made a goalscoring return to the starting line-up for Thursday’s 3-0 Europa League win over Sheriff Tiraspol. The Portuguese now has three goals in 13 appearances in all competitions this season. But Ten Hag did not rule out the prospect of him matching his 24 goals last season. “It’s up to him,” said Ten Hag. “But I think when you collect all the chances he creates, the team creates for him in the last weeks, you see he’s still capable to get in the right positions and I know he’s still capable of finishing them so it’s possible.”

Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag

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Dalot, Rashford on target

The victory, with goals from Diogo Dalot and Marcus Rashford adding to Ronaldo’s strike, guaranteed the Red Devils a place in the next round, where they will join Barcelona who were knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage 24 hours earlier.  “He created, the team created for him and we know he has the capability to finish. He needed a goal and now I’m confident there will be more goals,” he added.

Ronaldo, 37, started up front with 18-year-old Argentinian winger Alejandro Garnacho, who was making his maiden senior start. Right-back Dalot opened the scoring just before the break before Rashford doubled the lead with 25 minutes to play. Ronaldo claimed his 701st club career goal and made sure of the three points with nine minutes left. 

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Arsenal lose 0-2

Arsenal, who have already reached the last 16, lost for the first time in the group stage as they went down to a 0-2 defeat at PSV Eindhoven.

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