Villarreal manager Unai Emery has praised Manchester United caretaker manager Michael Carrick for making the changes which won the game.

Carrick was managing his first ever match for Manchester United, and in the Champions League too.

United won 2-0 thanks to goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho.

Speaking to AS, Emery reflected: “I’m going to stay with the positive, with 70 very good minutes against Manchester, which is the favorite of this group. 

“We did not grant chances. The changes gave them a plus and in that phase we were no longer the same. They had accelerated with those changes and we lost control.”

Villarreal CF v Manchester United: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Maria Jose Segovia/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Carrick at the wheel

The score was tied at 0-0 when Michael Carrick made a double substitution.

Carrick took off Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek, replacing the pair with Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes.

 

Rashford joined Ronaldo in playing a high line up top, while Fernandes helped United adopt a more attacking approach.

It was a bold call from Carrick, and it worked a treat, with United eventually breaking Villarreal down.

A smart managerial debut

Carrick has been an unknown quantity as a coach in his own right, and this was a chance for him to show what he could do.

While he will be associated with some of the failings of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign, Carrick showed against Villarreal that he can be his own man too.

He was not afraid to leave out Fernandes, a decision Solskjaer has shied away from in every single Premier League and Champions League game this season, and he had the team working more efficiently defensively.

Villarreal CF v Manchester United: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now some of that will be down to the squad of players too, working harder and wanting to show a response to Solskjaer’s sacking. Villarreal also lacked a proper outlet up front without Gerard Moreno and Paco Alcacer.

Carrick though deserves his dues, as this was a night he came up smelling of roses. The weekend against Chelsea may not be so straightforward, and for one night at least, he can reflect on a job well done.

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