The problems are still there but Manchester United’s win at Villarreal shows that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
The Red Devils began life without Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a 2-0 triumph against the Spanish outfit – a result that seals Man United’s place in the last-16 of the Champions League.
Under the guidance of caretaker boss Michael Carrick, Man United produced a decent European away performance, although it should be noted that they were helped out by David de Gea’s brilliant goalkeeping before Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho scored the goals.
There’s plenty going on behind the scenes with the club understood to keen on getting Mauricio Pochettino in as Solskjaer’s replacement as soon as possible.
Time will tell on whether that happens in the near future but there’s plenty to take away from what happened on the pitch.
talkSPORT.com picks out FOUR things we learned from Man United in their first match since Solskjaer’s departure.
Dave still saves
In recent times there have been calls to make Dean Henderson Man United’s first choice goalkeeper but De Gea showed on Tuesday night and all season that he’s still got plenty to give.
The match could’ve been taken away from the Premier League side if it wasn’t for the Spaniard’s brilliance, denying Villarreal with three top saves before Ronaldo opened the scoring.
The pick of De Gea’s saves came in the second half when he got down brilliantly to his right to fist away Manu Trigueros’ strike which looked set for the bottom corner of the net.
It’s fair to say that Sancho is yet to justify the £73million Man United paid but his performance showed he’s on the right track.
He was a different man at the Estadio de la Ceramica, running at the Villarreal defenders, looking to put in crosses and being the all-round menace going forward Borussia Dortmund fans came to know and love.
Sancho probably should have scored in the 71st minute but could only blast the ball straight at Geronimo Rulli.
But he got his first Man United goal in stoppage-time, rounding off a rapid Red Devils counter-attack as he fired the ball in-off the crossbar.
Carrick also praised Sancho for his work off the ball, something that was very much lacking from many Man United players in the final days of Solskjaer’s reign.
But Sancho probably has Carrick to thank the most for being afforded those chances late in the match as Man United barely had a sniff at goal until the final quarter.
The pendulum swung in Man United’s favour after Carrick opted to make a double substitution on 66 minutes – Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes coming on for Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek.
It was one-way traffic in the visitors’ favour from then on as they sealed the win.
Carrick may not get this job full-time but that decision shows he’s got the makings to become a manager.
Ole will forever be a legend
Carrick paid tribute to Solskjaer after the match, saying the players put in that performance for the former manager.
The modest Norwegian won’t take any credit for the result but it was a team of players that he built that put in that all-important performance.
And it shows that despite a bad run of results, there will never be any hard feelings between Man United and club legend Solskjaer.
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