Cristiano Ronaldo revelled in the celebrations after Manchester United secured a last-gasp win against West Ham on Saturday.
The Portuguese star is often accused of putting himself ahead of the team – and sometimes he might – but that wasn’t the case at Old Trafford where, despite not scoring the winner, Ronaldo delighted in three valuable points.
“Let’s go, Devils,” he wrote on Instagram at full-time, sharing a photo of himself with both hands raised.
Also involved in the move was Anthony Martial, who appeared for the first time since the beginning of December.
Ronaldo’s involvement in winner
Ralf Rangnick would have been delighted with with Rashford and Martial’s involvements in the winner.
However, the opening that led to the goal might not have been possible if it wasn’t for Ronaldo.
The 36-year-old collected the ball from distance, occupying a position that he had caused trouble from throughout the game.
In that pocket, defenders were drawn to Ronaldo and it freed up space elsewhere on the pitch.
West Ham analyst noticed it
This is something that one of West Ham’s analyst’s pointed out – but the visitors did nothing to stop it.
Samuel Luckhurst, Chief Man United writer for the Manchester Evening News, overheard the comment from the analyst deep into the second half.
“Ronaldo in that pocket is killing us again,” he apparently said.
Luckhurst then watched a replay of the goal again. He noted: “He’s in that area and draws two players towards him, freeing up room down the left for Martial and Cavani.”
Watch the goal
Here’s a video of the goal. United overload the left-hand side and when Ryan Fredericks’ misjudged header falls to Ronaldo, there is nobody to follow Martial and Cavani.
Remember earlier in the season, when Ronaldo’s lack of pressing was apparently a huge concern for United?
It’s funny to think about that now. He impacts the game in a number of ways and United are significantly better off for it.