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Maguire - "It's massive for our season. Last couple of months have been nowhere near good enough."

Michael Carrick led the Red Devils to a 2-0 win over Unai Emery’s Villarreal as they sealed their spot in the last-16 of the Champions League.

Interim boss Michael Carrick, Van de Beek and Jadon Sancho after Man Utd win over Villarreal [Getty]
Manchester United have sealed a spot in the last-16 of the Champions League with a game to spare. [GETTY]

Michael Carrick’s first match as interim manager of Manchester United ended in a 2-0 win over Villarreal on Tuesday evening.

The win over the La Liga club means the English giants have sealed their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had dominated the media and on BT Sport before the clash at the Estadio de la Cerámica, ex-United midfielder Paul Scholes lamented that nothing might have changed since the majority of Ole’s coaching staff were still in the dugout.

United started the match slowly as the Unai Emery’s side 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 and not concede silly goals 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 super goal machine perfectly lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli to open the scoring, making it the Portuguese’s 799th career goal.

Moments later Sancho found the target with a brilliant volley that hit 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. The goal capped a fine night for the away side that have been under immense scrutiny in the last few days.

'A massive result for our season'

After the win, United defender Harry Maguire told BT Sport: "It's massive for our season. The last couple of months have been nowhere near good enough and we needed to get a result for our season and our fans. We need to make sure that's just the start and we push on.

"It was tough and edgy in the first half. It was important to stay in the game and I thought the lads who came off the bench really helped us push on and the second-half performance was really good.

"The emphasis was getting a result. Coming away from home in Europe you have to be solid. We got what we deserved in the end because of the chances we created.

"We want to be on the front foot and aggressive and in the first half maybe we played with too much fear. But we spoke about that and the first goal came from pressure.

"Ronaldo has been brilliant. We need to get back to being solid because if we do that we have every chance to win games when we have him upfront."

Scholes: 'We won games playing like that.'

Former England midfielder Paul Scholes also had his say in the BT Sport studio: "I thought the discipline and team shape was there. It isn't easy going to places like this. We won many games playing like that.

“This might be a way of Manchester United playing. They might play the same way against Chelsea at the weekend - it is against tougher opposition, but he could play a similar way."

Scholes added: "Michael Carrick will be really happy. I'm sure he'll be thinking about Chelsea on Sunday now that is out the way. It was a disciplined performance and a great win. It is a big bonus to go through the group with a game in hand."

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