Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford both played a starring role in pulling Manchester United out of a black hole against Atalanta in the Champions League.

After missing some big chances, Rashford showed great composure to calmly slot the ball home and start the comeback in the second half.

Our number 10’s goal made everyone start believing that we were in for another special Champions League night under the lights of Old Trafford.

Following Harry Maguire’s clinical instinctive equaliser, just like last time out against Villarreal, all that was missing was a Ronaldo winner to send the Theatre of Dreams into a sense of hysteria once again.

Manchester United v Atalanta: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Our 36-year-old talisman did exactly that and made it three Champions League goals in three games and ousted his great rival Lionel Messi within 24 hours.

But on Rashford’s first start alongside Ronaldo, there were signs the pair can conjure up a devastating partnership that could result in both players scoring bag fulls of goals.

Encouraging signs with Ronaldo and Rashford

Manchester United v Atalanta: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer went with a front four of Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, Rashford and Ronaldo.

It was only three minutes into the clash against the Italians that Ronaldo and Rashford showed a willingness to change positions.

With our number seven out on the left, following a Scott McTominay drive from midfield, Rashford was played in on goal through the middle, but hit his shot wide, although he was offside.

Fred drew a save from Juan Musso which came from Greenwood penetrating through the Atalanta lines with a fired pass into Fernandes.

Our number 18 then released Ronaldo down the right with Rashford being in the middle and Ronaldo’s dinked cross found Fred inside the penalty area.

Manchester United v Atalanta: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

In the 41st minute with Ronaldo again down the right-hand side, Fernandes played a ball over the top which the offside Greenwood left for the on-rushing Rashford.

 

But the 23-year-old, who was in on goal, took too long and was chased down by Merih Demiral who slid the ball to safety.

On the stroke of half-time, Rashford came off the left channel and was again played in by Fernandes, but his effort clipped the top of the bar.

United were back in the game thanks to a phenomenal pass from Fernandes, who was everywhere against La Dea, into Rashford, who showcased his blistering pace and desire to get in-behind Atalanta’s defence and he produced a finish to match the vision of Bruno.

Only going to get better

Manchester United v Atalanta: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

With Rashford running in-behind and across the defensive line, something that the likes of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho don’t do from the left, Ronaldo was dropping deep to pull defenders away and gave Rashford the space to run into.

The interchanging of positions made it very difficult for a depleted Atalanta backline and they didn’t know whether to drop off, follow the runners or play offside.

Rashford’s lightening speed alongside Bruno’s vision means if teams continue to play a high-line against us they could get punished.

Manchester United v Atalanta: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Having Rashford running beyond him means that Ronaldo will have ample opportunities for cut backs and tap-ins due to our academy star pulling and stretching defences.

Without Rashford in the side, our forward line looked a bit predictable and with Ronaldo not having the pace he once had, teams could play a high-line and pin us back in midfield.

But with Ronaldo, Bruno and Rashford working in tandem to rip teams apart, our attacking threat becomes that much more unpredictable.

And with Greenwood or Sancho able to join the party from the right-hand side, Solskjaer’s forward line could finally be clicking into gear which spells bad news for opposition teams.

Have something to tell us about this article?