Cristiano Ronaldo opened his account for the year by helping Manchester United defeat Sheriff in the Europa League. Erik ten Hag is optimistic that the striker will score more goals in the future.
Ronaldo struggled in United’s most recent home loss to Real Sociedad, and he had not started any of United’s previous four Premier League games.
Ronaldo, who started the match on Thursday, however, was successful from the penalty spot as United earned three points in Group E.
Although it was his first goal in the Europa League, it was Ronaldo’s 699th club goal of his career.
Sheriff was the 124th different team the 37-year-old has scored against, and Ten Hag anticipates that there will be many more this year.
Ten Hag told United’s club media:
“He needed that goal.
“He was close many times, but you always see he wanted that so much.
“We’re happy for him, and the team wanted him to bring that goal.
“We could expect this when you miss pre-season.
“He has to work hard and invest to get the right fitness.
“He will score more goals. He’s really close; he will score more when he gets more fitness.”
Jadon Sancho, who opened the goal after 17 minutes when he turned on Christian Eriksen’s ball and slotted a lovely shot into the bottom-right corner, pleased the United manager as well.
Sancho has now scored three goals in his past six outings for United, more than he did in his previous 24 games combined. Sancho was earlier today left out of Gareth Southgate’s England team.
Ten Hag said:
“I’m really pleased with [Sancho].
“[He scored] another goal and scored many goals in pre-season.
“He’s doing well, but I think there’s much room for improvement because he has so many skills.
“So, bring it on the pitch, and when he has that belief, I think he can be even more productive.”
Meanwhile, Sancho underlined his determination to earn an England recall for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
The winger told reporters:
“It was really important that we got the win today.
“Our last home against Real Sociedad was upset, and coming into this game, we knew we had to get the three points.
“It is disappointing not to get the call-up, but I have to keep working hard and hopefully get the call-up for the World Cup. I just have to focus on myself and carry on working hard.”
United have won five of their last six games in all competitions, as many victories as they had registered in their previous 21 matches combined.
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