Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes react to Man United’s 2-0 win at Villarreal

Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes both had their say after Man United's 2-0 victory over Villarreal in the Champions League

Rio Ferdinand
Ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand (Photo: BT Sport)

Rio Ferdinand praised Manchester United’s players for producing a “no-frills” and “disciplined” performance after they beat Villarreal 2-0 to book their spot in the Champions League last 16.

Temporary manager Michael Carrick raised a few eyebrows with his decision to start playmaker Bruno Fernandes on the bench for the Champions League clash in Spain, with Jadon Sancho handed his third European start of the season and Donny van de Beek also featuring from the outset.

The first half was a largely uninspiring affair, but the substitutions made by Carrick after the break helped to swing the game in Manchester United’s favour, with Bruno Fernandes replacing Van de Beek and Marcus Rashford coming on for Anthony Martial in the 66th minute.

The breakthrough came in the 78th minute, when Fred won the ball from Etienne Capoue after a short goal-kick and the ball found Ronaldo, who expertly lobbed his finish over the goalkeeper to make it 1-0.

Sancho then made it 2-0 to the visitors in the 90th minute in emphatic fashion with his first goal for the club when he lashed home his finish into the top corner after being found by Marcus Rashford’s low cross in the box.

Speaking on BT Sport after the final whistle, former Manchester United defender Ferdinand praised Carrick for the way he set his team up.

“This game was about no-frills, discipline, and they had a plan,” said Ferdinand. “They are the things we’ve been asking for for weeks and today they had it again.

“This wasn’t a performance of beautiful, fairytale, imaginative football – it was roll your sleeves up, get into position and be hard to beat. They did that today. And when they’ve got the players they’ve got up front, who can be opportunistic, who can score goals and finish things off, you’re in with a chance.”

Fellow ex-Red Devils star Paul Scholes felt that the game-plan paid off for the visitors and said he wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar approach for Sunday’s trip to Chelsea FC.

“I thought the first 20 minutes were a little bit shaky, a little bit all over the place, but the discipline was there, the team shape was there,” said Scholes.

“It’s not easy going to these places and getting a result. We won many games in that way – just staying in the game and sticking to it. You know at some point, you’re always going to have the quality to score goals.

“You can see them doing the same against Chelsea on Sunday. It’s against a lot better opposition, don’t get me wrong, but that type of system, that way of playing, will be something he sticks with.”

Ronaldo has now scored six goals in five Champions League games this season.

Manchester United will now turn their attentions back towards Premier League affairs and their trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea FC on Sunday.

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