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Opinion: 2 Key Changes I Noticed From Carrick's First Game As Manchester United Coach

The only constant in life is change, and it is often said that doing the same thing can expect a different result.

That was the case on Tuesday when Michael Carrick began his reign as interim manager of Manchester United.

Even though United's trip to Spain comes just two days after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked as boss, visible changes were made by Carrick despite having minimal time to prepare the team.

Here are three key changes noticed in Carrick's first game as United manager

Different Ronaldo role

The 36-year-old was not played in his usual central striker role by Carrick, who used Ronaldo from the left in a three-man attack.

This is a position Ronaldo is more used to playing at Juventus and occasionally internationally for Portugal, but has been centrally used since his summer transition to United.

It turned out to be a smart move as Ronaldo re-delivered in a record-breaking fashion.

War Opportunity

An important trick often performed by new managers is to give players who seem unfairly excluded a chance to prove themselves.

This saw Anthony Martial appear in United's starting squad for only the fourth time this season.

Unfortunately for the Frenchman and his club, this campaign failed to justify a fourth more selection.

Martial was unnamed during his time on the field, which lasted more than an hour, and was replaced by Marcus Rashford, who was surprisingly backed up by Carrick in the first place.

Defensive compactness

United practiced much better defensively for this match than in previous weeks.

Sending five goals to Liverpool and four to Leicester and Watford had highlighted Solskjaer's defensive crisis at United in his final weeks.

Tuesday night's match saw United put up a solid picture and limited Villarreal to just a few opportunities.

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