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 were 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 were 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.
Cardboard cutouts and ‘Viva Ronaldo’ chants
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.”
Familiar story for Wolves
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 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 to 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 knows his side need to start picking up points in their first two games back after the international break against promoted Watford and Brentford.
- 1Malheiro de Sá
- 16CoadySubstituted forGibbs-Whiteat 87′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 27SaïssBooked at 84mins
- 22Nélson Semedo
- 8NevesBooked at 81mins
- 28João Moutinho
- 11Machado TrincãoSubstituted forPodenceat 70′minutes
- 37TraoréSubstituted forFábio Silvaat 87′minutes
- 17Fábio Silva
- 1de Gea
- 6PogbaBooked at 90mins
- 17FredBooked at 84mins
- 21JamesSubstituted forCavaniat 53′minutes
- 18Bruno FernandesBooked at 44mins
- 25SanchoSubstituted forMartialat 72′minutes
- 11GreenwoodSubstituted forDalotat 90′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 34van de Beek
Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0, Manchester United 1.
Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0, Manchester United 1.
Attempt missed. Morgan Gibbs-White (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Offside, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Marçal tries a through ball, but Fábio Silva is caught offside.
Diogo Dalot (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Paul Pogba (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Paul Pogba (Manchester United).
Daniel Podence (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Morgan Gibbs-White (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Luke Shaw (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Morgan Gibbs-White (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Substitution, Manchester United. Diogo Dalot replaces Mason Greenwood.
Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Maximilian Kilman (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Marçal (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Fábio Silva replaces Adama Traoré.
Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Morgan Gibbs-White replaces Conor Coady.
Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nélson Semedo (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
- Our coverage of your Premier League club is bigger and better than ever before – here’s everything you need to know to make sure you never miss a moment