After the dismissal of Solskjaer, former Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick was placed in interim charge of the club. The Englishman made the bold choice of leaving Bruno Fernandes out of the starting lineup in favour of Donny Van De Beek, who scored at the weekend.
Manchester United struggled to build up a head of steam against an inspired Villarreal side at Estadio La Ceramica, with goalkeeper David De Gea called into action to deny a number of Villarreal stars as the Red Devils held on.
Manchester United eventually got their breakthrough through Cristiano Ronaldo in the 78th minute after a costly mistake from Villarreal. Goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli passed the ball to Etienne Capoue in midfield, but the midfielder casually allowed Fred to nick it ahead of him, setting up Ronaldo to chip the ball over a stranded Rulli and into the back of the net. It was Ronaldo’s sixth goal in five UEFA Champions League games this season.
A last-minute counter-attack saw Marcus Rashford run free down the left flank before releasing a pass to fellow substitute Bruno Fernandes, who touched the ball into the path of Jadon Sancho to smash home an effort off the underside of the crossbar and make it 2-0, scoring his first goal for the club on his 15th appearance.
Manchester United have now secured their place in the Round of 16 of this season’s UEFA Champions League with a game left to play in the group.
Cristiano Ronaldo and compatriot Bruno Fernandes set two new records against the Yellow Submarine. Ronaldo became the first man to score in his first five UEFA Champions League appearances for an English club in a season, and Fernandes became the first person to assist in each of his first five UEFA Champions League appearances in a season.