Cristiano Ronaldo ended his six-game goal drought on Tuesday as Manchester United recovered from an insipid first-half display to beat 10-man Brighton 2-0 and clamber back into the Premier League top four.
The match dramatically changed complexion early in the second half, with Ronaldo scoring his first goal in 2022 before Lewis Dunk was sent off three minutes later, reports AFP.
But the home side still managed to make heavy weather of the situation, wasting a number of great chances to double their lead until Bruno Fernandes sealed the points deep into stoppage time.
Ralf Rangnick’s team had blown half-time leads to draw 1-1 in their previous three matches in all competitions, dropping crucial points in the league and exiting the FA Cup on penalties.
In his pre-match interviews, United’s interim manager had spoken about how he wanted his team to be more like Dr Jekyll and less like his literary evil alter ego Mr Hyde.
The German said after the match he had seen both sides of his team, who have struggled to find consistency and fluency under his stewardship.
“First half was Mr Hyde, second half Dr Jekyll and for a change it (the result) was different,” he said. “In the end it was important to get the three points against an in-form team.”
Rangnick praised 37-year-old Ronaldo, who returned to the scoresheet for the first time since December 30.
“Very important not only that he scored but it was an outstanding goal,” he said. “It was important for all of us, but his overall performance was one of the best since I arrived here.”