Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said the Manchester United squad made Cristiano Ronaldo introduce himself at the team hotel the night before his debut against Newcastle, but joked that if any of the players didn’t know him before “they do now” after he scored twice in a 4-1 win at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo spoke to the rest of the players at the Lowry Hotel on Friday before marking his return to the club with two goals as his second chapter at United began with a comfortable victory in front of an appreciative crowd.
“Everyone when they come into the team they have to introduce themselves, maybe not everyone knows his name — they do now,” Solskjaer joked in his postmatch news conference.
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“The atmosphere around the club has been electric. The supporters have enjoyed the last 10 days. There was loads of expectation on the team today and he’s delivered.”
“[Cristiano] lifts everyone,” Solskajer added. “He gets everyone so focused around the place, puts demands on himself which puts demands on his teammates and demands on us and that’s why he’s done so much in his career.
“He has evolved, he is a different type of player to when he left but he is still a ruthless and clinical goalscorer. He has developed into a miles better footballer than when he was here through the years. You are not going to use him as a battering ram. He likes to roam.
“He senses the big moments, when to arrive in the box and I thought he played the game very, very mature. He was very efficient with his football.”
Ronaldo admitted to prematch nerves on his return to Old Trafford but was happy with his two goals after only expecting one.
“I didn’t expect to score two goals,” he told BBC Sport. “I expect one but not two. I have to appreciate the fans and what they did to me today. I feel so proud for that.
“The most important thing was to win and to win games. [United] needs to be where they deserve. It is to win, to build the team and build the club and the mentality.
“This is what we are looking for. Of course I am happy to score goals I am not going to deny that but the most important thing is the team, and the team played good.
“It is unbelievable. When I started the game I was so nervous, I swear. It is normally because I did not expect that they would sing my name all game. I was very nervous but maybe I didn’t show, but I was. The reception is incredible but I am here to win games and help the team.
“It was unbelievable moment. I was super-nervous and was thinking last night that I wanted to play good and show I was still capable of helping the team. This club is unbelievable and I am so proud. I am going to give everything to make them proud of me.
“Everyone knows the football in England is different than in any part of the world and to be honest it is the most special one. I arrived here at 18 and they treated me unbelievable and that is why I am back.”
Ronaldo also highlighted his desire for silverware this season, adding: “Everyone has to do his job. We have a fantastic team, a young team, with a fantastic coach but we have to build up confidence. The team needs to be mature if we want to win the league and the Champions League but we are in a good way and I am here to help the team.”