As Cristiano Ronaldo sank to his knees in fist-pumping celebration and Harry Maguire stripped his jersey off and handed it to a fan, you could understand the emotion.

It had been a dramatic fightback, a stirring victory and a blessed relief, not least for the manager.

No wonder there was a fair bit of emotion around Old Trafford.

But lads, it was Atalanta at home. An injury-hit Atalanta at home. And if David de Gea had not produced a very decent double save in the second half, there is a good chance you would have lost.

In its own right, this was a thrilling occasion.

But those three second half goals, culminating in Cristiano Ronaldo’s towering header, papered over some serious defensive cracks.

David de Gea conceded twice as Man Utd's defence was easily exposed

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were reprieved because Atalanta’s back-line was as porous as United’s. If not worse.

Take another look at Atalanta’s two first half goals.

Basic attacking aided and abetted by some seriously bog-standard defending.

And there, in a nutshell, is Solskjaer’s Manchester United.

This has become a team that has forgotten how to defend, confidence ebbing from the back four, game by game.

But do not lay all the blame at the feet of Maguire and his rearguard colleagues.

Who was tracking Davide Zappacosta on the simple overlap that allowed him to set up Mario Pasalic for the first?

No-one. No-one bothered.

That is because not everyone in this United team buys into the sort of work ethic that should underpin any elite, modern-day team.

In the end, Atalanta were not good enough to take advantage of that failing.

Liverpool will be.

From Maguire to Ronaldo, from Victor Lindelof to Bruno Fernandes, United simply have to clean up their defensive act.

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