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Solskjaer credits Ronaldo's mental strength for late winner

FOOTBALL By Reuters | September 30th 2021
September 29, 2021 Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after the match with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer REUTERS

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Cristiano Ronaldo had shown his mental strength again by grabbing a stoppage-time winner in their 2-1 victory over Villarreal in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Ronaldo had little impact on the game until he struck in the fifth minute of stoppage time to give United a barely deserved victory against the Spaniards.

"That is what he has done throughout his career - he is so strong mentally, he just stays in the game, I have seen him all day today, the way he built himself up for the game, focused," said Solskjaer.

"He's done that so many times, when you saw him (for Portugal) against Ireland a month ago, he missed a pen, didn't touch the ball much and then scored two great headers in the last few minutes.

"When he gets that one chance it is a goal. It is the true mark of a very, very good finisher that he keeps calm when the chance arrives," he added.

United -- and Solskjaer -- were under pressure after their opening Group F game ended in defeat against Young Boys in Bern and that setback was followed by an exit from the League Cup at the hands of West Ham United and a Premier League loss at home to Aston Villa.

"It’s massive for the players of course, to win games in this fashion after we lost the game in Bern in that fashion, it's great,” Solskjaer said.

“I’d rather have a win and a defeat than two draws," he said reflecting on how both games had been decided in the final moments.

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