Never write off Ronaldo...or Ole!
The writing was on the wall for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he and his Man Utd players trudged off the pitch to a chorus of boos at half time.
United trailed 2-0 to a decimated Atalanta side missing five first-team players. They were, as it stood right then, bottom of their Champions League group with just three points from three games.
This was a result that surely would not be tolerated if it stayed like this at full time.
And then Man Utd launched one of their greatest and perhaps most famous European comebacks, one that will have brought back memories of Barcelona 1984 or Turin 1999.
First Marcus Rashford halved the deficit as United came out possessed after the break.
Then Harry Maguire equalised with an excellent finish 15 minutes from time.
And then, who else but Cristiano Ronaldo completed a sensational turnaround with a trademark bullet header with just nine minutes remaining.
Ahead of the game, many fans and journalists understandably had asked whether Solskjaer had lost the changing room.
Paul Pogba publicly criticised his teammates – and by extension his manager – after the dismal 4-2 defeat at Leicester City on Saturday. Bruno Fernandes had some harsh words too.
There were reports of Rashford being upset at comments from Solskjaer telling him to concentrate on his football rather than his social and community work.
All was not well with Man Utd having won just two of their previous seven games before tonight, losing four of those. They simply couldn’t afford to lose another.
This second half performance, though, against Atalanta showed that Solskjaer still has the players. He may – and probably will – ultimately prove to be not good enough to win titles with Man Utd.
At times in the first half he was outcoached by the brilliant, miracle-making Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini, whose squad has an annual salary of €35 million compared to Man Utd’s €268m.
But when Solskjaer does eventually leave his post, it won’t be because of a lack of morale in his squad or poor man management.
Solskjaer dropped Pogba tonight. The Frenchman came on with United trailing 2-1 and helped them claim a famous victory.
Ronaldo has been blasted for his lack of pressing and workrate. On another night he could have had a hat-trick, while it was he who was chasing back to clear the ball away in his own penalty area four minutes into stoppage time at the end.
Solskjaer referenced this himself in his post-match interview. "Did you see him running around there at the end?"
There is still togetherness in this Man Utd team under Solskjaer and they are now looking good to qualify for the Champions League knockouts.