Villarreal 0-2 Manchester United: Player rating

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Michael Carrick’s first match as caretaker for Manchester United ended with a 2-0 victory over Villarreal.

That victory secured the Red Devils’ passage to the knockout stage of the Champions League and they only need one point at home against Young Boys on the last match day to secure the top spot.

Kick-off was delayed because the batteries on referee Felix Brych’s headset had died, and after the match finally started, Scott McTominay nodded Alex Telle’s free kick into the side netting when United started on the front foot.

David de Gea was in place to push Moi Gomez’s effort from distance at the other end before Yeremi Pino avoided Alex Telles and shot just wide from a narrow angle.

Pino continued to cause Brazil’s international problems, somehow over-muscle him and beating Dani Parejo, but De Gea was equal to his stinging effort.

Telles finally found some freedom going forward and selected Cristiano Ronaldo with a fantastically whipped post, even though the Portuguese’s nod was tame and easy to handle by Geronimo Rulli.

United’s first real half-chance to take the lead came shortly after half-time when Fred was picked out by Jadon Sancho on the edge of the Villarreal area, but his shot did not bother Rulli.

De Gea came to United’s rescue again when he produced a fantastic reaction save to keep Manu Triguero’s bouncing shot away, while Arnaut Danjuma’s blow went over the top shortly after.

Carrick threw on Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes in search of an opener, and the Portuguese was almost the supplier when he put Sancho through, but Rulli stood tall in the Villarreal goal.

And once again, Ronaldo came to United’s rescue after Fred won the ball high on the pitch from a free kick, and the star forward lobbed it over Rulli to give United a late lead.

Ronaldo almost took a grip when he came at the end of Juan Foyth’s weak nod back to the goalkeeper, but his toe was just outside the goal, and Rashford received a low blow that was pushed behind by Rulli.

Sancho sealed United’s victory with an emphatic finish at the top of the net on the counterattack as the stoppage time approached.

This is how the away players rated …

De Gea saved United again, shock / Aitor Alcalde / GettyImages

David de Gea (GK) – 8/10 – Handled everything that was thrown in his way, which has been the case for most of this season.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – 6/10 – Looked like Bambi on ice at any time on the ball but was at least strong in the back when the clock ran down.

Victor Lindelof (CB) – 7/10 – Be polite, but be a busy man due to the lack of help in front of him.

Harry Maguire (CB) – 6/10 – Much better than he was in the loss at Watford but he was sent off there so the bar was not so high.

Alex Telles (LB) – 4/10 – Pino had great joy without having to go out of first gear due to Telle’s inability.

McTominay was Urusel / Eric Alonso / GettyImages

Scott McTominay (CM) – 3/10 – Clumsy off the ball and on it. Dani Parejo and Etienne Capoue hugged him.

Fred (CM) – 7/10 – Endured a battle in midfield and had to do most of McTominay’s work for him.

Donny van de Beek (AM) – 4/10 – Hardly even noticed that he was playing. Wasted a huge chance to impress on a rare start.

Ronaldo came once again to United’s rescue / Aitor Alcalde / GettyImages

Jadon Sancho (RW) – 7/10 – Probably his best match in a United shirt, which does not say much. Had some decent dribbles and touches but his lack of pace is picky. Excellent finish, mind.

Cristiano Ronaldo (CF) – 7/10 – It was terrible during large parts of the game and still took the winner according to.

Anthony Martial (LW) – 3/10 – Played as if he had dizziness. Everywhere positional and could not keep control of the ball.

Bruno Fernandes (AM, 66 ‘, for Van de Beek) – 8/10 – Made United’s best chance of the match within five minutes of his introduction.

Marcus Rashford (LW, 66 ‘for Martial) – 6/10 – Like Fernandes, his energy helped United get on the pitch and actually threaten Villarreal.

Nemanja Matic (CM, 90 ‘for Ronaldo) – N / A

Juan Mata (RW, 90 ‘for Sancho) – N / A

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