Manchester United have won their first match in the post-Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era, as the Red Devils have gone to Spain and defeated Villarreal 2-0. This was not a thrilling performance from the players, but they ultimately did what they needed to do – they brought the three points home and made sured Man United will play in the Champions League in the latter stages of the competiiton, unlike last season.
In a match that was not especially pretty, Man United scored two late goals to put themselves in a strong position ahead of their final match against Young Boys when first Cristiano Ronaldo scored after 78 minutes, before Jadon Sancho sealed the deal in the 90th minute. Here is what we learned from this match.
Carrick Makes Interesting Changes
Solskjaer’s departure on Sunday meant it was Michael Carrick who would take care of the team until Man United find an interim manager to lead the team until the end of the season. And Carrick right away made some changes that caught the eye. Donny van de Beek was in the starting lineup, in the number 10 role instead of Bruno Fernandes, who started on the bench. Anthony Martial was back in the team on the left flank, while Jadon Sancho started as the right winger. Those changes were interesting, even they may not have made the most while on the pitch, with the exception of Sancho.
These Carrick’s moves showed that things can also be done differently and still get a result away from home. How much these changes will matter in the long run is to be seen, but reigniting the spark in those players who played less could make everyone more focused, too.
Ronaldo Is Mr Champions League
It was a Champions League night and things had to go this way – it was Cristiano Ronaldo once again who helped Man United get the much needed points. Despite being 36, Ronaldo manages to be a nightmare for every team and there is nothing he likes more than scoring in this competition. There has been a lot of talk about how he affects the team in a negative sense in recent weeks, but the European nights is where all those things get forgotten…
Team Afraid To Make Mistakes
This match was not so much interesting to watch and a big reason for that could be that Man United players looked afraid to make mistakes. Some of their recent performances were appalling and there seemed to be more cautiosness about their displays. Alex Telles at left-back did not attack much, Man United played again with two defensive minded pivots in Fred and McTominay, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka was not that efficient going forwards, as usual. Hopefully the next few games, these players will manage to boost their confidence with a few wins.
Man United Qualify For Round Of 16
And ultimately, Manchester United have done what they needed to do – they qualified for the Champions League round of 16. They have three points more than Villarreal and four more than Atalanta, who will battle it out on their own who will go to the next round. Man United will host Young Boys in December and a mere point will suffice in finishing top of the group and hopefully getting an easier draw for their first knockout matches in early 2022.