Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence was felt as Manchester United beat Wolves in their first game since announcing they had reached an agreement to re-sign the forward.
Ronaldo was not at Molineux but United’s travelling fans sang his name, with the Red Devils expected to confirm the arrival of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner from Juventus in the coming days for £12.8m.
On the pitch, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side was second-best to a lively Wolves for long periods before Mason Greenwood scored a contentious late winner.
Wolves felt Ruben Neves was fouled in the build-up but the goal was allowed to stand.
Wolves could have been 3-0 up inside 15 minutes, with Raul Jimenez forcing David de Gea into an early save, Aaron Wan-Bissaka making a goal-saving block to deny Trincao and Joao Moutinho volleying over after a mistake by Jadon Sancho.
United was second best for long periods and it required a spectacular double save by De Gea from Romain Saiss to prevent Wolves from taking the lead before Greenwood’s finish.
There was a carnival atmosphere at Molineux. Wolves fans were excited at the arrival of new striker Hwang Hee-chan – who was presented on the pitch after arriving from RB Leipzig – while United’s travelling supporters sang about Ronaldo from start to finish.
Chants of ‘Viva Ronaldo’ could be heard outside the ground two hours before kick-off.
Inside Molineux, United fans wore CR7 T-shirts, held up ‘welcome back Ronaldo’ signs and wore replica shirts with his name on the back.
Supporters also displayed a cardboard cutout of Ronaldo, while Solskjaer spoke excitedly before the match about the imminent return of the 36-year-old.
“I’m excited to keep building this squad. He will bring something completely different,” said the United boss.
“Hopefully Cristiano can come in and show what he has done in his career.
“I am sure he likes all the talk about being old. Make it personal and he will show what he can do.”
Wolves remain without a point under new boss Bruno Lage after a third successive 1-0 defeat.
The unparalleled pace of Adama Traore ensured his side started on the front foot against a United side who struggled to hit the heights of their opening weekend win over Leeds.
However, it was a familiar ending for Wolves.
Having managed 15 attempts on target in their opening three games, they have yet to score and have now lost their past six Premier League matches.
Raphael Varane marked his first United start by making an important block to frustrate Trincao, while De Gea’s second stop from Saiss was an early contender for save of the season.
Wolves were angry Greenwood’s goal was allowed to stand, with Neves protesting with referee Mike Dean at the final whistle.
“They said before the season started they will look for contact – if the contact is strong enough, they will give the foul. I showed them my leg.,” the midfielder told Sky Sports after the game.
“After the game, he said ‘you both go to the ball’ and I said ‘yes, we both go to win the ball but I was the one who touched the ball’. It’s a foul, a clear foul.”
It was always going to be a challenging start for Lage against Leicester, Tottenham and Manchester United.
However, the Portuguese know his side need to start picking up points in their first two games back after the international break against promoted Watford and Brentford.
In Other News – Burnley 1 – 1 Leeds United
Patrick Bamford capped a dream week with a late equaliser as Leeds extended Burnley’s winless home run to 12 games by pinching a point in a feisty Premier League affair at Turf Moor.
Chris Wood had looked set to earn Burnley all three points with a predatory finish against his old club, turning home Matthew Lowton’s shot from close range.
But Bamford, who earned his first England call-up this week just days after signing a new long-term contract, stabbed in Jamie Shackleton’s effort with time running out. learn more