As expected, Michael Carrick made some bold changes to the line-up following the chastening defeat at Watford on Saturday. Both Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial were named in the starting eleven as Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford dropped to the bench. Alex Telles also started at left-back in the absence of Luke Shaw.
Despite the change in personnel, Manchester United looked far from convincing for the majority of the game. Ultimately, it was Cristiano Ronaldo who yet again came to their rescue. The 36-year-old has now scored six goals in five Champions League games this term.
However, a lot of the credit has to go to David de Gea for keeping Manchester United in the game till the 78th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo broke the deadlock.
The Spaniard was at the peak of his powers for the visitors as he thwarted multiple attempts from Villarreal to open the scoring. Most notably, he produced an excellent diving save to deny Manu Trigueros just before the hour mark at the Estadio de la Ceramica.
It was after the introduction of Fernandes and Rashford from the bench that Manchester United forced the initiative. The Red Devils found the opening goal of the game through a slice of fortune.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Manchester United after Villarreal error
Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli tried to play out from the back and Manchester United midfielder Fred applied pressure on his counterpart Etienne Capoue to force an opening. The ball fell kindly to Cristiano Ronaldo and he dinked it above Rulli to maintain his streak.
Summer-signing Jadon Sancho then netted his first goal for Manchester United in the 90th minute to complete the rout. The forward has had a difficult time settling in at Old Trafford since his move from Borussia Dortmund and looked relieved to have broken the duck.
In the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo setting the tone for yet another Champions League win for Manchester United, Twitter saluted his heroics. Additionally, there was also praise for both De Gea and Sancho for their contributions. Here are the best reactions from the game:
Also ReadArticle Continues below