In pictures: Man Utd v Villarreal
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Former Manchester United star Owen Hargreaves has singled out four players for praise following their 2-1 Champions League win over Villarreal last night. The Red Devils aren’t at their best during the showdown. But they still picked up all three points regardless, with Cristiano Ronaldo coming to the rescue.
Manchester United fell behind against Villarreal when Paco Alcacer struck in the 55th minute.
But they then rallied, with Alex Telles and Ronaldo scoring to secure all three points.
And Hargreaves, speaking to BT Sport after the match at Old Trafford, singled out Ronaldo for praise – while also hailing the impact of substitutes Jesse Lingard and Edinson Cavani.
“Old Trafford is absolutely bouncing, the energy is unbelievable,” he said.
“Credit to all the subs Edinson Cavani was great when he came on, Jesse Lingard had a big impact, but Cristiano Ronaldo he’s the man who can make the difference in crucial moments.
“Jesse does great, he just reacts quicker.
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“You’re just never amazed by his feet and it’s a huge win for Manchester United.”
Hargreaves also waxed lyrical over David De Gea, who produced a string of fine saves to keep the visitors at bay.
“The way they lost Young Boys it was so important they got a result,” continued the former Bayern Munich and England midfielder.
“And it didn’t look like they would get one, Villarreal arguably deserved something from the game.
“But when you have someone like Cristiano Ronaldo and Cavani that came on and really affected the game Ole Gunnar really got his subs right, subs that could affect the game they pushed on, the crowd was up for it and Cristiano rises to the occasion.
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“David de Gea made some huge saves to keep them in it.
“This team Villarreal trying to play even till the end, they were looking for the goal.
“The energy from Cavani was so important and the crowd believed there was a goal there and you could just feel it. Cross from Fred stands it up, great from Jesse gets a little touch and you know who’s going to score that.”
While Cavani and Lingard did well, however, the night belonged to Ronaldo.
And the former Juventus star addressed the club’s supporters after the game, thanking them for carrying the team over the line.
“Sometimes the players, we try to do our job, to play good and score goals but sometimes it is not possible,” he said.
“The fans have this role as well when the team is in a difficult moment, they need to push us.
“This is why I say and ask them if they can do that.
“They give us motivation to keep going and to keep running and keep believing.
“So, today, this is what we felt. We are so happy. A very important win and we are in a good way now.”
And, on becoming the player to have made the most appearances in the Champions League’s history, he added: “Unbelievable!
“Another chapter, another beautiful chapter, so I’m so happy to score the winning goal and the way I did it.
“The most appearances in history and to score a goal.
“A great night.
“I have to mention the attitude of the team which is the most important [thing] here.”
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