Manchester United

Twitter reacts as Man Utd secure Champions League progression

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
United are through!
United are through! / Aitor Alcalde/GettyImages

Well, well, well. It wasn't pretty but Manchester United have kicked off the post-Ole era on a high, with caretaker manager Michael Carrick masterminding a 2-0 Champions League victory over Villarreal to ensure their progression to the knockout stages.

Before a ball was even kicked on Tuesday night, Carrick was already creating headlines.

When the two lineups came out, it became clear that the interim to the interim boss had made several huge calls, with Bruno Fernandes dropping to the bench the biggest of them.

There was also surprising starts for Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial, while Jadon Sancho's inclusion was not exactly expected either.

It took us longer than usual to get underway in Spain, thanks to referee Dr. Felix Brych seemingly having to change the battery on his ear-piece.

Yes, genuinely.

Was the first half worth the wait? No, not really.

United started poorly with Villarreal looking more likely to score in the opening 20 minutes. After this the Red Devils managed to wrestle back some control and they finally had a proper chance when Cristiano Ronaldo stood over a free kick in a very promising position just before the break.

The outcome? Straight into the wall.

Oh dear. It summed up the opening 45 minutes.

Villarreal came out strongly in the second half - or rather United came out limply.

The Yellow Submarine went close to breaking the deadlock just before the hour mark, when Manuel Trigueros had a fierce effort kept out by David de Gea.

It was not the first time the Spaniard came to his side's rescue, as social media was quick to point out.

The home side were made to rue their missed opportunities when, like he has done so many times already this season, Cristiano Ronaldo popped up to save his side's skin.

Profiting from a defensive lapse from Villarreal, Ronaldo lifted the ball delicately over Gerónimo Rulli before shaking the Earth with an almighty SSSSSSSSSSIUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU.

Before the end United's night got even better when Sancho finally got off the mark for his new club.

His finish was emphatic and he looked delighted to score too, though not as happy as some people on Twitter.

That was all she wrote in this one.

It was not a vintage United performance, far from it in fact, but the three points did ensure their qualification to the Champions League knockout stages.

And that, at the end of the day, is all that matters.