Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick paid tribute to Cristiano Ronaldo’s work rate following the Red Devils’ 1-0 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday
But Ronaldo, whose credentials for playing Rangnick’s high-pressing style of play have been questioned, played his part and was a constant threat for Palace to deal with.
Post-match, the German coach paid tribute to the 36-year-old as he told BBC Sport : “I am very happy with the way the team performed, especially the first half hour, with the pressing, it was exceptional.
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“The only thing missing was the 1-0 or 2-0. The way we defended, we had control of the whole game, the clean sheet was the most important part.
“These are the things we must improve. We need to keep clean sheets. With just the one training session, I was really impressed. We did much better than expected.
“We always tried to be on the front foot. We were never not apart from maybe the last five minutes. At all other times we were trying to keep them away from our goal.
“We wanted to play with two strikers, especially in the central position. By the way, Cristiano Ronaldo’s work off the ball, chapeau.”
But the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was not the only recipient of Rangnick’s praise, with the temporary manager joking that he was surprised by Fred’s 77th-minute strike.
“I had to ask my assistant coach if that was Fred’s right foot,” he joked. “I thought he could only shoot with his left. I’m happy for him.
“It’s always easier to build on things after you’re successful. We must produce further clean sheets and get better at creating chances for our attack.
“Overall I was very pleased with the way we played today.”
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“We are happy because we got the three points. The results could have been even better.”
Fernandes continued: “I think it depends on the game, sometimes you have to press more, sometimes less. But everyone knows the manager wants more pressing from us.
“The first 25 minutes was unbelievable, great tempo. We could have scored so many in the first half.
“We have to follow our new manager’s instructions. Now we go again to the Champions League.”