It was another intense night of Champions League action on Tuesday with a whole host of clubs attempting to book their place in the last 16 without having to go through the stress of the dreaded final matchday. In Spain, we saw a tie that didn’t really live up to the hype as Manchester United went toe to toe with Villarreal.
After a dull affair for most of the game, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho both struck late to make sure the Red Devils had something to smile about after a really turbulent few weeks.
United dig deep
The sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt inevitable and while Michael Carrick being on the touchline felt fresh, it was still a case of “under similar management” for much of the game. Alas, after a few substitutions and some cool heads prevailing, United found their breakthrough. This isn’t the kind of win that’s going to make everyone forget about what’s happened, but this is a club that needs a confidence boost. Last night, they were reminded of who they used to be, even if it was only for a fleeting moment.
Villarreal had some nice moments and forced good saves out of David de Gea, with Moi Gomez really running the show. Unfortunately for them it wasn’t quite enough, and you have to question what exactly happened for Unai Emery’s side. They didn’t showcase anywhere near the kind of drive they did in the reverse fixture and they weren’t at all interested in putting their foot down on the gas. If they don’t wind up qualifying for the knockout stage, they only have themselves to blame for so many missed opportunities.
Manchester United did not play well for long spells and it’s going to take a look time for them to readjust to the style that first made them one of the biggest clubs in world football. It’s interesting to consider just how different things could be in a matter of weeks when a new manager walks through the door, and that’s kind of scary if you’re a Manchester United fan. They have so much work to do and not a whole lot of time to do it in with the international breaks having been and gone for the year.
The future is now, and the man who comes in has to be prepared to go to war with this side.