The manager of Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that his team was lucky to get the maximum three points against Villarreal on Wednesday, September 29.
Villarreal that defeated Manchester United in the Europa League final last season, visited Old Trafford to take on the Premier League club in this season UEFA Champions League group stage.
As expected, Villarreal made the game so difficult for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his boys from the start of the game to the end. Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea was able to put up a good fight to stop Villarreal from scoring in the first half.
The Spanish club finally got their opportunity to score in the 53rd minute thanks to Paco Alcacer’s strike.
After the goal, Manchester United continued to press for the equalizer until the 60th minute when Alex Telles scored a stunner to give the home team the needed equalizer.
When Villarreal thought they would run away with a 1-1 draw, Manchester United returnee, Cristiano Ronaldo gave the home fans something to go home with by scoring towards the 5th minute of injury time.
The goal gave Manchester United their first victory in this season’s UEFA Champions League campaign after suffering a stunning 2-1 defeat at the hands of Young Boys on September 14, 2021.
If Manchester United had lost to Villarreal on Wednesday, the Premier League club would have been sitting on the last spot of UEFA Champions League Group F.
But the 2-1 win over Villarreal has taken Manchester United to the 3rd spot with three points in two games, a point behind first placed Atalanta and on equal point with second-placed Young Boys.
After the Champions League group stage win over Villarreal at Old Trafford on Wednesday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described the game as “magic”.
“Champions League Old Trafford is magic and sometimes history can help us”, he said. “Tonight, Cristiano came up with a good goal, and Alex [Telles] scored a fantastic goal.
“That’s what happens here at Old Trafford. It’s happened so many times before. We had to throw caution to the wind and we got lucky in the end.
“To get the three points at home is important. We know we need to get to ten, maybe 12 points to go through. It’s a massive result for the team and the spirit of the team as well. It’s a better way of winning a game than how we lost a few weeks ago. But that’s football, it’s just highs and lows and today we get a result that we’re delighted about.
“I’d rather have a win and a defeat than two draws.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowledges Cristiano Ronaldo for doing what he knows how to do best
Over the years, Cristiano Ronaldo has proven to be a late-minute Saviour for most of the teams he has played for and the Wednesday game was not any different. He scored the winner a few seconds to the end of the game.
During the post-match press conference, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowledged that Ronaldo is used to doing that. The Norwegian tactician referred to the last game the 36-year-old Portuguese football icon played for his country where he scored two late goals to give his team the win over the Republic of Ireland.
“He’s done that so many times,” Solskjaer said. “When you saw him against the Republic of Ireland a few weeks ago [for Portugal], he missed a penalty early, didn’t touch the ball more or less, and then scored two great headers in the last two minutes.
“That’s just what he’s done throughout his career. He’s so strong mentally. He stays in the game, I’ve seen him all day today, the way he’s built himself up for this game, how focused he’s been, and when he gets that one chance, it’s a goal. But a true mark of a very good finisher is that he keeps calm when the chance arrives.
“He’s so good in front of goal and he has an impact on everyone – the crowd, the players, everyone.”
🗣 The boss paid tribute to @Cristiano following the dramatic scenes in M16 on Wednesday night 👏👏👏#MUFC | #UCL— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 29, 2021
The Champions League game against Villarreal on Wednesday, is Cristiano Ronaldo’s 178th Champions League game of his career. He has now overtaken Spanish legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas as the player that has made the highest appearance in the Champions League.
The biggest factor in last night's comeback victory? Each and every one of 𝘆𝗼𝘂 ❤— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 30, 2021
Well said, @Cristiano 💯#MUFC | #UCL