The Warmdown: Manchester United fight back to rescue victory against Atalanta
(Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Manchester United fought back from two goals down to secure a much-needed victory against Atalanta at Old Trafford.

After being comfortably beaten at the weekend it was vital that Ole Gunnar Solskjær's side responded with a victory in Europe, and despite making it tough themselves, a Cristiano Ronaldo winner was enough to secure three points.

The first half didn't go to plan with the away side going two goals up inside half an hour thanks to well-worked goals from Mario Pašalić and Merih Demiral

It was the first time ever in the Champions League at Old Trafford that United had gone in at the break 2-0 down.

The Red Devils had their chances in the first half and following the eventual win Solskjær revealed that in his half-time team talk he told the players "Make sure we get the next goal because then we'll win the game."

It seemed to work as they came out in the second half looking like a different team, with goals from Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire getting United back into it, before the winner came from Ronaldo with 10 minutes to spare.

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A tale of two halves 

It might be a cliché, but it fits.

There have been many memorable United comebacks down the years, the most famous seeing Solskjær himself score the winner in the 1999 Champions League final.

While there were positives in the first-half performance, to concede two goals which resulted from set-pieces, against a side missing five of their first-team regulars isn't good enough.

United appointed set-piece coach Eric Ramsey in the summer to address that exact issue, but work still needs to be done as they have only kept one clean sheet all season.

Luckily for the Red Devils they turned things around, it was a huge positive seeing Rashford make his Old Trafford return after a long period on the sidelines.

But it gives Solskjær even more of a selection headache, and as we have seen a lot this season balance is going to be the key.

Trying to fit all the incredible attacking talent onto the pitch at the same time looks tempting, but a more balanced approach is likely to give United the best chance at getting back into the title race.

Ultimately this will be remembered as a vintage United performance, with Ronaldo grabbing the headlines thanks to his winning goal.

Bruno Fernandes continues to shine

While the back pages will be graced by CR7, Bruno Fernandes was the real Man of the Match.

Even in the first half when United were far from their best, he still kept on creating chances that just weren't being converted.

Overall he created nine throughout the game, which is more than any other player has created in the Champions League this season.

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It highlights yet again United's reliance on the Portuguese attacking midfielder ever since he arrived almost two years ago.

The chant that could be heard the loudest after the final whistle went showed just how much the Old Trafford faithful appreciate their 'Portuguese Magnifico'.

The hierarchy at the club have taken note as well, reportedly making it their "priority" to tie the 27-year-old down to a new contract, according to the MEN.

If United are successful this season then he will be a massive part of that, perhaps more important than his compatriot Ronaldo.

Positivity is key

Despite there being obvious room for improvement, particularly defensively, taking the positives from tonight's performance will be key to ensuring United can overcome their recent bad run.

They now face a huge run of games in the league, with the Manchester Derby to name one, as well as a tough trip to Italy in the return game against Atalanta.

Captain Maguire made up for his poor performance at the weekend by getting on the scoresheet tonight.

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After the game, he told BT Sport "Great togetherness in the dressing room at halftime gave us energy and belief."

If United can show that in their upcoming game against Liverpool then they might pull off another inspiring victory.

 

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