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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 August, 2003, 08:36 GMT 09:36 UK
Ferguson hails Ronaldo debut
Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo was an instant hit on his debut
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted Manchester United's army of fans have a new hero to worship in Portuguese teenage sensation Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 12.2m midweek arrival from Sporting Lisbon was handed a 29-minute debut by the United boss with the home side holding a narrow one-goal advantage against bogey side Bolton.

By the final whistle, the Trotters defence had been terrorised, United had collected a 4-0 win and Ronaldo had made a big impression.

"It looks like the fans have a new hero," said Ferguson.

"It was a marvellous debut, almost unbelievable. I felt his penetration could make a difference for us.

"We have to be careful with the boy. You must remember he is only 18. We are going to have to gauge when we use him."

The performance capped a big week for Ronaldo, who followed his move to United with being named in the Portuguese squad for the first time for Wednesday's friendly with Kazakhstan.

Overall the scoreline flattered us a little bit
Sir Alex Ferguson

"It is a good thing he is going with Portugal," said the United manager.

"He has the chance to talk with Luis Figo and Rui Costa in his own country and that experience will be invaluable when he comes back to us."

Ryan Giggs scored twice - one a brilliant 30-yard free-kick - while Paul Scholes and Ruud van Nistelrooy weighed in with the other goals as United romped to a 4-0 victory.

Before scoring, Van Nistelrooy had his spot-kick saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen which means the Dutchman has failed to convert two successive penalties.

But Ferguson was not overly concerned and added: "Ruud had missed a great chance not long before and there was almost disgust in his shot for the goal at his penalty miss.

"Overall the scoreline flattered us a little bit. We expected Bolton to offer us stern resistance and they were pretty dangerous at times.

"But our passing improved after the interval and it is a good win for the first day of the season."

BBC Five Live's Mike Ingham
"A bit hard on Bolton but that's life at the top"

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"The scoreline doesn't really reflect how the game was going"

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