Nick Pope’s verdict on Cristiano Ronaldo’s disallowed Manchester United goal v Newcastle United

Newcastle United goalkeeper Nick Pope kept the 50th Premier League clean sheet of his career during Sunday’s goalless draw at Manchester United.

Newcastle’s point at Old Trafford kept them sixth in the table and sitting with the outright best defensive record in the division.

Pope has conceded just nine goals in his opening 10 matches for the club, keeping four clean sheets in the process.

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And his record of 50 Premier League clean sheets since he made his debut in 2017 is only bettered by Alisson, Ederson, Hugo Lloris and David De Gea from Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United respectively.

Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo shoots past Nick Pope but the goal is disallowed during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on October 16, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

"Of course it's pleasing, that's what we're here to do, goalkeepers and defenders, limit the goals you concede,” Pope told The Gazette after the draw.

“You want to keep clean sheets and in that we've done okay so far but we need to keep that going.

“The Premier League throws up different games most weeks so it's good to have that character in the bag that we can call upon when we need it.

"You'll go through stages in the season where you're under the cosh a little bit, especially away to the big teams so to keep a clean sheet and show that resilience is a real plus.”

The match wasn’t without its scares at the back for Newcastle though as Cristiano Ronaldo had two goals disallowed early in the second half.

Though Pope was confident the second, which saw Ronaldo poke the ball past the Newcastle goalkeeper as he prepared to take a free-kick, would not stand.

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“The free-kick was slightly in the wrong place and obviously Fabby's rolled it back to me and walked off,” explained the England international. “I think you know by everyone's body language that you know he's not meaning to take a free-kick.

"I think the referee sorted it out quickly and fair play to him for making the right decision and squashed it straight away.”

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And in the final moments of the game, substitute Marcus Rashford had a glorious chance to snatch a late winner with a header from Casemiro’s cross.

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When asked what was going through his head as Rashford connected with the ball, Pope added: “Please go wide!

"It was an unbelievable ball in to be fair and he's gone to head it across me and thankfully it's gone a couple of inches wide.

“They had a couple of chances and so did we but it's just that final third, that final pass, that final shot we didn't quite get right and that's why we've not scored.

"But there's definitely tinges of disappointment that it wasn't three points.

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“It's a good point, there's still a very good feeling in the group and a good feeling coming here to [Old Trafford] which is probably why there is a slight disappointment in the end result.

"But I've still got that good feeling now and we'll take that into Wednesday [against Everton] and with the home fans, it'll be a good occasion I'm sure.”