Super Jadon Sancho, smart Michael Carrick
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The problems are still there, but Manchester United’s win at Villarreal shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The Red Devils started their life without Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a 2-0 triumph over the Spanish side – a result that seals Man United’s place in the Champions League round of 16.
Under the guidance of interim boss Michael Carrick, Man United produced a decent European away performance, although it should be noted that they were helped by brilliant goalkeeper David de Gea before Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho do not score the goals.
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes, with the club aware that they want to sign Mauricio Pochettino to replace Solskjaer as soon as possible.
Time will tell if that will happen in the near future, but there is a lot to take away from what happened on the pitch.
talkSPORT.com picks up FOUR things we learned from Man United in their first game since Solskjaer’s departure.
Dave always saves
Lately there have been calls to make Dean Henderson Man United’s first-choice goalkeeper, but De Gea has shown on Tuesday night and all season long that he still has a lot to give.
The game could have been taken away from the Premier League side had it not been for the Spaniard’s outburst, robbing Villarreal of three best saves before Ronaldo opened the scoring.
De Gea’s save choice came in the second half when he tilted brilliantly to his right to fend off Manu Trigueros’ strike who seemed ready for the bottom corner of the net.
It’s fair to say that Sancho has yet to justify the £ 73million paid by Man United, but his performance has shown he is on the right track.
He was a different man at the Estadio de la Ceramica, running against Villarreal defenders, seeking crosses and being the overall threat to the future that Borussia Dortmund fans have come to know and love.
Sancho probably should have scored in the 71st minute but could only kick the ball straight to Geronimo Rulli.
But he scored his first goal against Man United in stoppage time, completing a quick counterattack from the Red Devils as he shot the ball over the crossbar.
Carrick also praised Sancho for his work off the ball, which many Man United players missed very much in the final days of Solskjaer’s reign.
But Sancho probably has to thank Carrick the most for getting those chances late in the game, as Man United barely sniffed the goal until the last quarter.
The pendulum swung in favor of Man United after Carrick opted to make a double substitution in the 66th minute – Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes replacing Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek.
It is now a one-way traffic in favor of visitors that seals the victory.
Carrick may not get that full-time job, but the move shows he has what it takes to be a manager.
Ole will forever remain a legend
Carrick paid tribute to Solskjaer after the game, saying the players achieved this performance for the former manager.
The modest Norwegian will not take the credit for the result, but it is a team of players that he has assembled that has achieved this crucial performance.
And it shows that despite a poor run of results, there will never be any hard feelings between Man United and club legend Solskjaer.
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