Greenwood's goals well timed before Ronaldo's United return

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Manchester United's Mason Greenwood celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the English Premier League soccer match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United at Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, England, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. (Nick Potts/PA via AP)

LONDON – Mason Greenwood is making sure Manchester United doesn't neglect his scoring abilities when Cristiano Ronaldo returns.

The 19-year-old striker — who is almost half Ronaldo's age — has now scored in all three matches for United at the start of the season.

The latest goal ensured an underwhelming United performance at Wolverhampton still ended in a 1-0 victory on Sunday. It was set up by Raphaël Varane, a former teammate of Ronaldo's at Real Madrid, on the defender's United debut.

But it is the frenzy over Ronaldo's unexpected return to Old Trafford that has lit up this transfer window, with the 36-year-old star completing his move ready for a second debut after the international break.

United is in need of increased firepower up front. While Greenwood's first goal of the campaign was in a 5-1 rout of Leeds, last week's was required to salvage a draw at Southampton.

The winner at Wolves only came in the 80th minute and after United required David De Gea’s sensational double save with about 20 minutes to go to thwart Romain Saïss.

“I think we were below (par) today, we didn’t play too well," the goalkeeper said. “But it’s a massive win for us.”

While United moved onto seven points, the only team with a perfect record after three games is Tottenham. All three wins have been 1-0, the latest against Watford clinched by Son Heung-min's free kick — which beat goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann — on his 200th Premier League appearance.

Burnley striker Chris Wood scored the 30,000th goal since the inception of the Premier League in 1992 but the northwest club was denied a first win of the season against Leeds after Patrick Bamford recovered a 1-1 draw.

Burnley had never even played in the Premier League when Ronaldo left United in 2009. In fact, half of the teams currently in the Premier League were not in the top flight when he completed a third title-winning season before heading off to Madrid.

Now the 36-year-old Ronaldo is rejoining from Juventus in an attempt to help United win its first Premier League title since 2013.

“Cristiano he’s evolved as a player, he used to play wide right, wide left, up front, he’s more of a center forward for me at the moment, definitely," United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, speaking to media for the first time since Friday's announcement of Ronaldo's return.

“But there will be games where we play with two up front, three up front. I want him in the box, I want him scoring goals. We’ve always been watching Cristiano, that one day he would move and we would be interested. We never thought that he was going to leave Juventus this season, when he did we had to speak to him of course.”


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