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OPINION: Two players vindicated Manchester United’s game plan

Another ill-informed pundit suggested Cristiano Ronaldo is a problem at Manchester United this week. That’s the guy responsible for their 10 Champions League points and whose winner at Tottenham gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a stay of execution.

Ronaldo has enriched United’s Champions League group stage, plundering six goals in five matches. All bar one have come in the last 15 minutes. Remarkably, United’s passage to the last 16 is assured with a game to spare.


However long Michael Carrick dons his Paul Smith suit with the Manchester coat of arms stitched onto his breast pocket in the dugout, he can savour his debut. It was United’s first-ever win at Villarreal, a fixture that has served up some genuine drudgery in the past, and their first Champions League victory in Spain since Valencia in 2010.

United were far from vintage but were never going to be and there were similarities with Solskjaer’s tenure. They were indebted to David de Gea’s agility but United were otherwise defensively compact and the porousness that has marred almost all of their performances this season was addressed. De Gea’s second-half save from Manu Trigueros drew visible admiration from Trigueros himself.

Read the full report here.


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