Manchester United began life after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a crucial 2-0 victory over Villarreal as they booked their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo netted his 10th goal of the season in the 78th minute, lobbing goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli after Fred had nicked possession away from Etienne Capoue.
And the visitors doubled their lead in the final minute of the 90 as substitute Marcus Rashford crossed for Jadon Sancho to fire home his first United goal.
The result sends Michael Carrick’s side through to the last 16 with one game to spare.
Here are the player ratings from the match.
Geronimo Rulli, 6. Had very little to do until he saved well from Sancho. Could do nothing about either goal.
Juan Foyth, 6. Didn’t have much to deal with in the way of attacking intent down the United left, particularly at the start of the game when Fred was occupying the wide areas as an auxiliary winger.
Raul Albiol, 6. His experience clearly showed in the heart of that Villarreal defence but he could do nothing to prevent Torres losing possession in the build-up to the goal.
Pau Torres, 6. An accomplished technical defender who looked composed in possession. Could not stop Ronaldo’s goal after Capoue was robbed of the ball.
Pervis Estupinan, 8. Looked a level above Wan-Bissaka on the same side of the pitch. Helped Gomez out in providing width down the left-hand side. Defended well up against Sancho, rarely letting him get the ball into the box.
Etienne Capoue, 6. Watford’s player of the season two years ago, Capoue has clearly come on even more since then. Struggled a little when United got their trio of Van de Beek, Fred and McTominay into the game but was clearly Villarreal’s instrumental pivot at the base of that midfield. Looked really solid alongside Parejo but was then at fault for the winner. Fred pinched the ball from him and it’s his mistake that settled the match.
Manu Trigueros, 7. The winger was always keen to take on United defender Telles at every opportunity. Could and probably should have done better with his attempt inside the first 10 minutes that hit the side-netting.
Dani Parejo, 6. Didn’t catch the eye in his positional awareness in the same way Capoue did, but still had a solid game for the home side. Went close with a dipping free-kick in the first half.
Moi Gomez, 7. Looked very lively early on, drifting between the left flank and inside of Wan-Bissaka, causing the United full-back all sorts of problems. Was Villarreal’s most dangerous attacking outlet in the first period, finding all sorts of space in between the lines as United failed to pick him up.
Arnaut Danjuma, 6. Should have done better from the edge of the box on the stroke of half-time when Wan-Bissaka’s pocket was picked, only to fire well over the top. Did not make Wan-Bissaka pay for a lacklustre display. Could not match his performance at Old Trafford.
Yeremi Pino, 7. Worked tirelessly when United had the ball, closing the space in between United’s defence and midfield. Only negative was his needless yellow.
Samuel Chukwueze, 6. Barely noticeable after coming on midway through the second half.
Alberto Moreno, 6. Did not provide the same sort of attacking outlet as Trigueros.
Dani Raba, 6. Came on inside the final 10 minutes. Didn’t really have a kick.
David de Gea, 9. De Gea made a couple of decent stops in the first half, keeping United in the game with his superb reflexes. Then in the second half he produced a truly outstanding stop to deny Trigueros, flinging himself down to his right and tipping away a venomous strike.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 4. Looks bereft of any confidence at the moment. Allowed Moi Gomez to get his shot away in the opening minutes of the game without any sort of attempt to close him down. Was beaten with ease time after time and lost possession in dangerous areas.
Victor Lindelof, 6. Was not helped out by the cavalier attitude Wan-Bissaka had to defending alongside him. Safe to say though that United fans will be relieved once Varane is available again.
Harry Maguire, 6. Did not make any glaring mistakes in the heart of the backline. Positionally still looked a little shaky but a clean sheet will do him the world of good.
Alex Telles, 6. Often appeared to be behind the pace of the game – understandable given his lack of minutes so far this season. Looked better in the second half as he got to grips with the speed of the match.
Fred, 8. Confusingly seemed to start out on the left. When he returned to his familiar central midfield role he looked more assured. Grew into the game after a difficult first 30 minutes. Gave United more control of the game. Was key in pinching the ball back for both United goals. One of his best games in a United shirt.
Donny van de Beek, 5. A lot was expected of the Dutchman following an impressive cameo in their 4-1 defeat by Watford. But he barely had a kick in the first half and when he did it always seemed to get stuck under his feet. A rash challenge saw him go in the book shortly before the break. Made way for Fernandes midway through the second half.
Scott McTominay, 5. Aside from Wan-Bissaka, McTominay stood out as one of United’s worst performers. He simply did not know what to do with Gomez and Trigueros coming inside, buzzing around him like irritable bees. Also could not handle the technical superiority of Capoue and Parejo.
Jadon Sancho, 6. Had another very quiet game in a Manchester United shirt until the 70th minute when he should have won the game for his side. Linked up brilliantly with Fernandes but fired too close to Rulli. Then made up for it with his first United goal, lashing home on the counter-attack. Hopefully that gives him the confidence to kick on.
Cristiano Ronaldo, 7. It looked as though Ronaldo had been told to do a job on the left-hand side at the start of the match. But if that was the plan then it was swiftly abandoned as he went back up top after 25 minutes. Returned to the left-hand side in the latter stages and had a new lease of life. Lobbed Rulli with a sumptuous finish and could have had a second, only for his attempt to roll wide of the goal.
Anthony Martial, 5. Started the night as a striker alongside Ronaldo but was moved out to the left midway through the first half. Did not produce the kind of display that will see him climb up the hierarchy ahead of Rashford, Lingard, Greenwood, Fernandes, Sancho, Cavani, Ronaldo, so on. Was hooked for Rashford with 25 minutes remaining.
Bruno Fernandes, 8. Changed the complexion of the game when he came on. Laid a beautiful through ball on for Sancho who squandered the chance.
Marcus Rashford, 7. Injected a bit of pace and could have doubled United’s lead late on but for the legs of Rulli. Laid on Sancho’s first United goal.
Nemanja Matic, N/A. Came on for Ronaldo in stoppage time.
Juan Mata, N/A. Also came on in added time.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies