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Carrick - "The boys dug in and had to do that. I was delighted with them."

FT: Villarreal 0-2 Man Utd.

Michael Carrick happy with win over Villarreal [Getty]
Michael Carrick happy with win over Villarreal [Getty]

Michael Carrick expressed his joy after his first game as Manchester United's interim manager ended with a win over Villarreal on Tuesday evening.

The Red Devils secured their spot in the knockout stages of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Unai Emery’s side at the Estadio de la Cerámica.

United started the match slowly as the hosts dominated and tested keeper David De Gea twice in the opening stages.

Halfway through the first half, it was evident that Carrick had set his side up to be disciplined rather than going all-out attack.

In the second-half, it looked the same, with De Gea making vital saves again. But, in the 78th-minute Fred stole the ball off Etienne Capoue following a short goal-kick and played it into Cristiano Ronaldo's path as the goal machine perfectly lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli to open the scoring, making it the Portuguese’s 799th career goal.

In the dying minutes, Sancho found the target with a brilliant volley that hit beneath the crossbar before going into the net.

It was Sancho’s first goal for the club since joining United from Borrusia Dortmund in the summer, and the goal capped a fine night for the away side that have been under immense scrutiny in the last few days.

“I've enjoyed the whole thing.”

However, United caretaker manager Michael Carrick told BT Sport “thankfully it all went OK in the end.”

"We came here to win and I believed we would, that we were ready," Carrick said. "It wasn't an easy game because they're a good team and they make you work. The boys dug in and had to do that at times. I was delighted with them.

"I don't think we could have hoped to come out and play pretty football from the word go and in some ways that was the best way to win - we had to show character and fight. We got back together and the subs made a massive impact.

"When Ronaldo gets the chance he puts it away. Jadon was brilliant. He put a real effort in defensively. It was a big night for him.

"I've enjoyed the whole thing. It's not been an easy couple of days but it feels like the result is for Ole. We had a job to do, things needed to be taken care of and I was happy to do it. Thankfully it all went OK in the end."

'Performance against Chelsea will be a replica of the second half.'

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand also had his take on the match as he expects the Red Devils to turn up at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

He said: "Managers that depart in the way Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did know there's going to be a bounce in the squad and something might happen.

"This performance was more about soaking up the pressure and it reminded me of when Ole first took charge before he had actually signed a contract and they went on that incredible run. I'm sure that on Saturday against Chelsea the performance will be a replica of that second-half performance."

Carrick became the first English manager to win his first game in charge of Man Utd [aside second spells] since Walter Crickmer back in November 1931.

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