Solskjaer explains what he told United players at half-time vs Villarreal

Manchester United were fortunate to go in at half-time level with Villarreal last night.

David de Gea kept United in the game in that first half, as Unai Emery’s side counter-attacked well.

After the break, United fell behind before their performance improved and Cristiano Ronaldo got a late, late winner.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was asked after the game by Sony Sports what he said to his players at half-time.

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“It was more ‘stop the counter attacks and get more penetration forward,” said Solskjaer when the question was put to him.

“Villarreal had a few chances, they counter attacked really well on us. We had 65 per cent of the ball but they were dangerous when they countered.

“They were better second half with possession but we scored the goals.”

When asked for his assessment of the performance, Solskjaer said: “Not good, but sometimes you get results on a bad day. Three points were massive for us tonight.”

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Solskjaer knows United were not close to their best and perhaps got away with one last night.

But the win was all-important and Ronaldo’s late goal gives new life to United’s Champions League campaign.

The two games coming up against Atalanta are huge, and United are still third in the group going into them.

United’s performance was again a concern and that needs to improve in the games ahead, starting with the visit of Everton on Saturday lunchtime.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.