After their lucrative takeover, Newcastle United are set to make a transfer splash in January.

The Magpies are winless and second last in the Premier League table this season.

Newcastle remain without a manager, following Steve Bruce's dismissal a fortnight ago.

 

TOP STORY – MAGPIES IN FOR COUTINHO LOAN DEAL

Newcastle United look set to make a move for Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho in January, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

Financially embattled LaLiga giants Barca are said to be keen to offload the former Liverpool forward, who arrived at Camp Nou from the Reds in 2018.

Barcelona are reportedly ready to accept a loan deal that includes a mandatory option to buy with Newcastle.

ROUND-UP

Barcelona are bullish about signing up Ousmane Dembele to a fresh three-year deal with the option for a further season, claims Mundo Deportivo. Dembele has been linked with LiverpoolManchester United and Juventus.

- Barca are also considering a move to sign Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele on loan, reports Sport. Ndombele has made nine appearances this season.

- Brazilian club Palmeiras have entered the race to sign Manchester United's Edinson Cavani, claims the Daily Express. The Uruguayan signed a one-year contract extension in May.

- Former Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho wants to bring Spurs midfielder Harry Winks and Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek to Roma, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- Sky Sports reports ex-Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca is still interested in the vacant Newcastle managerial role. Fonseca nearly took over at Tottenham in the off-season. Magpies candidate Unai Emery announced he was staying with Villarreal on Wednesday.

- La Nazione says Tottenham are firmly in the race to sign Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, who has also been linked with Manchester City, Inter, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Juve.

Unai Emery has confirmed he will remain at Villarreal despite significant interest from Newcastle United.

Emery was said to have been made the number one target of Newcastle's new owners following last month's takeover, which saw Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) take an 80 per cent share in the club, as they look to replace former head coach Steve Bruce.

Following Villarreal's Champions League win over Young Boys on Tuesday, Emery said he was aware of interest from Newcastle but had received no offer from the struggling Premier League club.

In a subsequent statement released on Wednesday, Emery praised the "transparency and loyalty" from Villarreal's ownership and the players amid the speculation as he revealed his decision to stay put.

Emery said: "Villarreal is my home and I'm 100 per cent committed. Honestly, I'm grateful for the interest of a great club, but still more grateful to be here.

"That's why I communicated to [owner] Fernando Roig my decision that I wanted to continue being a part of this project for the commitment and respect that I perceive from the club and my players, which is mutual and reciprocal.

"I want to thank the fans for the support they have always shown me.

"On Sunday, we have a really important game [against Getafe] and I hope that together we can achieve victory. We'll see you at the Estadio de la Ceramica."

With Emery having rebuffed their advances, former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is the favourite for the Newcastle job.

Still waiting for their first win of the season, the Magpies are six points adrift of safety in the Premier League and visit Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Villarreal head coach Unai Emery confirmed Newcastle United's interest in bringing him back to the Premier League, but he is yet to receive an offer.

Newcastle have reportedly made former Arsenal boss Emery their number one target to succeed Steve Bruce following the club's takeover by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Premier League outfit Newcastle, who have also been linked with former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, are understood to want Emery in place for Saturday's game against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Villarreal president Fernando Roig told Spanish broadcaster A Punt Media on Tuesday that Emery is "very happy" at the LaLiga side and Europa League champions, but conceded it would not be their decision should Newcastle pay his release clause.

Emery had said on Monday that he did not know anything about the potential move, however, added after Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League win over Young Boys that contact had been made.

"The truth is that they have shown an interest in me, but I have no further news," Emery said during his post-game news conference. "There is no offer. There have been no more steps.

"I am focused on Villarreal. It will have to be a contact between clubs. My idea is to be here on Sunday."

It has been reported Newcastle will pay the stipulated €6million release clause on Wednesday, although Emery would not be drawn on the speculation.

"Well, first I would talk to the president. I neither close the door nor open it to Newcastle," said Emery, who won three successive Europa League titles with Sevilla before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in 2016.

"I have not said no, but I would discuss it with Villarreal. I am very grateful. I cannot say anything more. We have already talked about noise. The first one who is uncomfortable is me, but we have been focused on the game."

Emery led Villarreal to last season's Europa League crown, beating Manchester United in a marathon penalty shoot-out in the final, earning them qualification for this term's Champions League.

Villarreal are currently 13th in LaLiga, having managed one point from their past four league games, while they sit second in their Champions League group with seven points behind Manchester United on head-to-head.

Newcastle United have been warned Unai Emery is enjoying life at Villarreal after he was linked with the newly-wealthy Premier League club.

Former Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain boss Emery is said to be a prime target for Newcastle, whose new Saudi majority owners are seeking a successor to Steve Bruce.

According to reports in England on Tuesday, Emery and former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe have both been considered for the job at St James' Park. Newcastle are said to want Emery in place before Saturday's game against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Whether Emery is tempted by a return to the Premier League remains to be seen, after he endured a difficult time with Arsenal. He would be inheriting a team who are facing a relegation battle, albeit he would likely have substantial funds for new signings in January.

Villarreal faced a Champions League home game on Tuesday evening against Young Boys, with Emery's future suddenly clouded in doubt.

Yet Emery, who turns 50 on Wednesday, is content with his current position, according to LaLiga club Villarreal's president Fernando Roig.

Roig told Spanish broadcaster A Punt Media: "Emery is very happy in Villarreal and has a contract in force."

The president said it "is not a decision for Villarreal" should Newcastle be willing to pay up his release clause.

Emery was asked about the Newcastle link on Monday, and said: "The truth is that I don't know anything."

Bruce was an early casualty of the new regime, with the club seeking a big-name boss to lead them into a fresh era.

Emery won three successive Europa League titles with Sevilla before leaving in 2016 and spending two years at PSG, where he continued to stack up trophies.

The trophies dried up at Arsenal, where he was the man chosen in 2018 to take over from long-serving Arsene Wenger. Emery was sacked in November 2019, after 18 months with the Gunners, but returned to coaching with Villarreal and helped the Spanish club win last season's Europa League title, beating Manchester United after a marathon penalty shootout.

That secured a Champions League place for this season, with Villarreal sitting second in Group F after three games heading into Tuesday's round of matches.

Their domestic league form in 2021-22 has so far left a little to be desired, however, with Villarreal winning just two of their opening 11 games in LaLiga, drawing six and losing three, to sit 13th.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is seeking a second away victory in a week as the Champions League returns, with the 3-0 success at Tottenham on Sunday being his first in six domestic games.

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri will also be hoping for a win to seal qualification from Group H with two games to spare, having lost back-to-back Serie A matches.

Bayern Munich and Chelsea will expect more of the same after they both won 4-0 against their opponents last time out in the Champions League.

Stats Perform pick out the key Opta facts ahead of Tuesday's Champions League action.

 

Atalanta v Manchester United: Ronaldo aiming to hurt Italians once more

United are looking to record their 150th victory in the European Cup/Champions League, which would make them the first English side to reach this milestone, and fourth overall after Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

Having failed to win in five domestic games prior to Sunday, pressure was starting to pile on Solskjaer. A third win in a row in the Champions League will boost confidence further.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be aiming to break Atalanta hearts as he did when he scored the winner in a 3-2 turnaround at Old Trafford on matchday three. Since returning to United, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in all three of his Champions League appearances – the last player to score in four consecutive appearances for the club in the competition was Ruud van Nistelrooy in April 2003.

3 - Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in three consecutive Champions League games for Manchester United for the second time, previously doing so in November 2007 en route to winning the trophy with the Red Devils. Inevitable. pic.twitter.com/eEYYnJpGV0

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 20, 2021

 

Juventus v Zenit Saint Petersburg: Allegri can cheer up Old Lady by sealing qualification

Things are not looking great for Juventus domestically, trailing Napoli and Milan at the top of Serie A by 16 points after Allegri's men were beaten by Sassuolo and Hellas Verona.

It has been a much smoother Champions League campaign so far, though, as the Turin side have won all three Group H games and will secure qualification to the knockout stage with a win against Zenit.

This will be Juve's 10th time facing Russian opponents in European competition, winning eight of the previous nine (D1) and they have kept six clean sheets. Zenit are also winless in their past nine away games in the Champions League (D1 L8). This is their longest run without an away win in the European Cup/Champions League.

 

Malmo v Chelsea: Blues can expect more goals in Sweden

Chelsea will be confident of another comfortable win against Malmo to go within a point of sealing qualification to the knockout stage. No team has conceded more goals than the Swedish side (11) in the Champions League this season, while only Besiktas (11.1) have a higher expected goals against total than their 8.7.

The holders are unbeaten in their seven meetings with Swedish teams to date, winning four and drawing three against them across all competitions. The past three have all been against Malmo, with each of them ending in Chelsea victories.

Malmo have lost seven of their eight previous games against English opponents in European competition, including each of the most recent four. The only time they have avoided defeat in such games came against Nottingham Forest in September 1995, winning 2-1 in the UEFA Cup.

 

Bayern Munich v Benfica: Bundesliga champions to mark milestone with another win?

This clash with Benfica will be Bayern’s 500th game across all European competitions, becoming only the third team to reach this milestone, after Barcelona (587) and Real Madrid (575). A win would not only be a fitting way to mark the occasion, but will also see them clinch qualification from Group E.

Bayern are unbeaten in all 11 of their meetings with Benfica in European competition, with eight of those ending in victories for the Bundesliga champions. They have faced Benfica more times without losing than against any of their other opponents in European competition.

It is also set to be a historic night for Robert Lewandowski, who could be in line to make his 100th Champions League appearance. The Poland striker has netted 78 goals in the competition to date, which is already the most by a player through their first 100 appearances in the Champions League.

Other fixtures:

Dynamo Kiev v Barcelona

11 – Dynamo Kiev's last victory against a Spanish team in the Champions League came back in March 1999, beating Real Madrid 2-0 in a quarter-final clash. Since then, they have faced Spanish opponents on 11 occasions in the competition and failed to win all of them (D3 L8).

9 – Since the start of the 2018-19 season, no full-back has provided more assists in the Champions League than the nine from Barcelona's Jordi Alba. This is three times as many as any other current Barcelona player in the same period (Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, 3).

Villarreal v Young Boys

8 – Arnaut Danjuma has generated eight shots following carries (moving five or more metres with the ball) for Villareal in the Champions League this season (six shots and two chances created) – only Vinicius Junior (10) and Jack Grealish (9) have produced more.

10 – Young Boys have not kept a clean sheet in any of their past 10 games in the European Cup/Champions League (W2 D1 L7), with their last one coming back in September 1986 versus Real Madrid (1-0).

Wolfsburg v Salzburg

1 – Wolfsburg have lost just one of their nine home matches in the Champions League (W6 D2) and remain unbeaten in six on home soil in the competition since a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United in December 2009.

3 – Salzburg could become the first Austrian side to win three consecutive European Cup/Champions League matches since Rapid Vienna in 1982.

Sevilla v Lille

1 – Sevilla have only lost one of their past seven home games in the group stage of the Champions League (W4 D2), with that lone defeat coming against Chelsea in December 2020.

3 – Since scoring in six consecutive Champions League appearances between October 2012 and March 2013 for Galatasaray, Lille striker Burak Yilmaz has only scored in three of his past 20 appearances in the competition.

Nuno Espirito Santo's replacement at Tottenham will be no surprise.

Antonio Conte had been rumoured as the top choice.

The ex-Inter man looks set to make it official on Tuesday, barring any late hitches.

 

TOP STORY – CONTE SET FOR SPURS MOVE

With Nuno Espirito Santo officially out, Antonio Conte is set to step in at Tottenham.

According to widespread reports, Conte has agreed a contract through June 2023 and the move will be finalised on Tuesday.

The 52-year-old left Inter by mutual consent after last season.

The Sun claims Spurs will give Conte £150million to spend on new players.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Paul Pogba prefers Paris Saint-Germain over Real Madrid or Juventus once he makes his expected departure from Manchester United, Fichajes reports.

- PSG are eyeing Karim Adeyemi as a potential replacement should Kylian Mbappe leave, Sky Sport in Germany reports. The 19-year-old Red Bull Salzburg striker also has drawn interest from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

- Real Madrid's Marco Asensio will be in demand in January, with El Nacional reporting Liverpool, Arsenal, Juventus, Milan and Dortmund all have offers ready.

- Arsenal are eyeing Torino striker Andrea Belotti, says Calciomercato.

- Villarreal's Unai Emery is the new favourite to take over as Newcastle United manager, says the Mirror.

Newcastle are making plans for the January transfer window following their Saudi ownership takeover.

The Magpies are currently 19th in the Premier League, with three points from eight games and no wins.

Newcastle have been linked with a host of top players at the start of a new era for the club.

 

TOP STORY – OZIL ON NEWCASTLE'S SHORTLIST

Newcastle have shortlisted former Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil as one of their transfer targets, according to Ekrem Konur.

Ozil is currently playing in Turkey with Fenerbahce after moving from the Gunners in January.

The Magpies have made no official offer yet, but they see Ozil, along with Fenerbahce goalkeeper Altay Bayindir in their plans.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tuttosport reports that Argentina international Paulo Dybala is set to agree to an extension with Juventus , securing his future with the Turin club until 2026.

- Roma have reignited their interest in Aston Villa's Dutch winger Anwar El Ghazi,  according to Football Insider. Villa are ready to let him go in January for £18million (€21m) if Jose Mourinho's side meet their asking price.

- Netherlands international defender Matthijs de Ligt is unhappy with his role at Juventus and his agent has held talks with Barcelona about a potential move, claims Sport.

- Fabrizio Romano claims that Spain international Yeremy Pino, who turned 19 on Wednesdayis set to agree a new five-year deal with Villarreal.

- Mundo Deportivo reports that Ansu Fati is close to renewing with Barcelona, with an in-principle agreement set to tie him down until 2026.

Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman is under immense pressure and needs a convincing win over Dynamo Kiev, having failed to earn any points from the first two Champions League games of the campaign.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is also in great need of a positive result, having won just two of his past seven games across all competitions, losing four.

Bayern Munich and Chelsea seem set for comfortable victories, however, with Blues boss Thomas Tuchel targeting the joint-best defensive record after 10 games with a club in the competition.

Read on for more as Stats Perform looks at the key Opta facts ahead of Wednesday's Champions League action.

 

Barcelona v Dynamo Kiev: Can Koeman stop the rot?

Koeman will be desperate to prevent his Champions League record at Barcelona from getting any worse after successive 3-0 defeats to Bayern Munich and Benfica in which the Blaugrana recorded a collective total of one shot on target, the least of any team in the competition.  

Despite only taking charge of four per cent of Barcelona’s home Champions League matches (5/131), 25 per cent of their total home defeats in the competition have come under the Dutchman (3/12), who is the only Blaugrana manager to lose more than twice at home in the tournament. 

Ansu Fati is perhaps Koeman's best chance of securing a positive result. The 18-year-old forward has been directly involved in three goals in two Champions League starts at Camp Nou (one goal and two assists), including an assist for Gerard Pique's goal in the 2-1 win against Dynamo Kyiv last year.

Benfica v Bayern Munich: Lewandowski-led Bavarians expect to stay unbeaten on the road

Bayern's record of eight European Cup/Champions League games unbeaten against Benfica is the joint-most by a team against an opponent since the tournament began in 1955.

With the Bavarian giants also on a record 19-match unbeaten run away from home in the competition (W15 D4), Julian Nagelsmann's side will feel confident of success in Portugal.

Furthermore, striker Robert Lewandowski - who has scored over a third of their 54 goals from that run (19 - 35 per cent) - has also netted five times in just six Champions League games against Portuguese opponents, including three against Benfica. No player has ever scored more times against sides from Portugal in the competition. 

 

Chelsea v Malmo: Clean-sheet chasing Blues Luk-ing for big win

Both of Chelsea's Champions League games this season have ended 1-0 - a win over Zenit and a loss to Juventus - but the Blues will be hoping for a more convincing scoreline as they host a Malmo side that have already conceded seven goals (the second-most in the tournament) and have lost their last five games in the competition by an aggregate score of 0-24, losing by three or more goals on each occasion.

Chelsea centre-forward Romelu Lukaku, in particular, will be relishing the opportunity to boost his already impressive tally of 14 goals in 18 appearances in European competition since the start of the 2019-20 season. In this period, the only two players who have scored more non-penalty goals than Lukaku (12) across the Champions League and Europa League are Lewandowski (19) and Erling Haaland (18). 

Tuchel will also be hoping for a seventh clean sheet in his 10th Champions League game in charge of Chelsea. The Blues have only conceded three goals under the German so far, which would be the joint-fewest through a manager’s first 10 games of a club in the competition (along with Fabio Capello at AC Milan and Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid).

 

Manchester United v Atalanta: Ronaldo and Fernandes to rescue Solskjaer?

Manchester United boss Solskjaer comes into this game under pressure after a 4-2 loss to Leicester City in the Premier League. The Red Devils have lost 58 per cent of Champions League games (7/12) under the Norwegian - the highest percentage of defeats by any manager to have taken charge of an English side on 10 or more occasions in the competition.

Solskjaer will be relying on his dynamic Portuguese duo to earn a much-needed win at Old Trafford. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 18 goals in 23 Champions League appearances against Italian sides, while Bruno Fernandes' four goals and three assists is the most direct contributions to a goal from any midfielder since his debut in the competition for United.

Atalanta are no pushovers, however. The Serie A side have only lost one of their last seven away games in the Champions League, winning five and drawing the other, and have won three of their six UEFA European matches against English opponents (D1 L2).

 

Other fixtures:

Zenit v Juventus

0  –  Juventus have never lost in eight previous encounters with Russian sides in European competition (W7 D1), scoring 18 times and only conceding three, although their only failure to win came away at Zenit in November 2008.

4  – Juventus have won their last four games in the group stage of the Champions League without conceding a single goal, with two of these coming away from home – 3-0 against Barcelona in December 2020 and 3-0 against Malmo in September 2021. 

Young Boys v Villarreal

 – Villarreal have lost eight of their last nine games in the Champions League (D1), conceding at least two goals in all nine outings in this run. They will be looking for their first win in the competition since March 2009, when they won 2-1 against Panathinaikos under Manuel Pellegrini.

 – Young Boys are unbeaten in their last three home games in the Champions League (W2 D1), and could equal their longest run without defeat on home soil in the European Cup/Champions League – a run of four games between 1957 and 1959. 

Salzburg v Wolfsburg

21   – In Salzburg’s last four UEFA European competition meetings with German opponents, there have been 21 goals scored (six for, 15 against) – last season’s Champions League games against Bayern Munich alone saw 12 scored (2-6 home defeat, 3-1 away defeat).

 – Karim Adeyemi has won four penalties for RB Salzburg in the Champions League this season. Since 2003-04 (as far back as we have this data), no player has ever won more than four in a single season in the competition. 

Lille v Sevilla

32  – The average age of Sevilla’s starting XI in the Champions League this season is 29 years and 200 days; the oldest of any of the 32 sides. Sevilla have handed starts to five different players aged 30 or older in the competition this season (Jesus Navas, Fernando, Papu Gomez, Ivan Rakitic and Yassine Bounou), with only Malmo (six) having more.

15  – Lille have won just 15 per cent of their home games in the Champions League to date (3/20) – among teams to have played 20 or more home games in the competition, only Romanian side FC Steaua Bucharest have a worse win percentage (9.5 per cent - 2/21).

Serge Aurier has joined LaLiga side Villarreal after leaving Tottenham on transfer deadline day last month.

The full-back ended his time with Spurs after agreeing a mutual termination of his contract.

Aurier will continue his career in Spain, joining the Europa League holders on a deal until the end of the season, with the option of extending his stay by a further two campaigns.

The 28-year-old Ivory Coast captain made 110 appearances for Tottenham following his move from Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, scoring eight goals.

Aurier helped the London club reach the Champions League final in 2019, as well as the EFL Cup showpiece two years later.

He also has vast experience at international level, winning 70 caps for his country.

Unbeaten Villarreal are 11th in LaLiga, winning two and drawing five of their opening seven games of the season.

Paul Pogba has been the subject of constant speculation over the past 12 months.

Manchester United's French midfielder is into the final year of his contract.

Pogba has been in excellent early season form, with seven assists in the league already.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID MOVE LOOMS FOR POGBA

Real Madrid are Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba's most likely destination at the end of this season, claims El Nacional.

The France international is out of contract at Old Trafford at the end of this season and could leave on a free transfer.

Pogba's agent Mino Raiola is trying to persuade Pogba to join Madrid, despite interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

Liverpool target Karim Adeyemi is being chased by German pair Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg, reports Sport Bild. RB Leipzig are also monitoring the 19-year-old Salzburg striker.

Marco Asensio appears destined to leave Madrid given his current role, with Sevilla hoping to sign the midfielder, according to El Gol Digital.

– Fichajes reports that Milan are plotting a January move for out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek.

– The Sun claims that Tottenham have revived their interest in West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone as they seek a successor to Hugo Lloris.

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho wants to reunite with Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele by signing him, reports Calciomercato.

– Marca claims that Manchester City are considering tabling an offer to sign Villareal forward Pau Torres .

Arsenal are set for a shake-up after missing out on European football for the first time in 26 years.

Mikel Arteta's side started the new Premier League campaign slowly.

But three wins in a row have offered hope and rumours are swirling about transfer activity.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL PLOT SWAP FOR EN-NESYRI

Arsenal will offer Alexandre Lacazette as part of a deal to land Youssef En-Nesyri from Sevilla, according to La Razon.

Morocco international forward En-Nesyri has sparked Arsenal's interest after netting 24 goals in all competitions in the 2020-21 season.

Lacazette has only made one league appearance for the Gunners this term and was reportedly shipped around during the off-season.

ROUND-UP

– Fabrizio Romano reports Lorenzo Pellegrini is set to sign a new long-term contract with Roma, which will remove his €30million release clause. Pellegrini was previously pursued by Liverpool and Tottenham.

– Liverpool scouts kept a close eye on Villarreal's Arnaut Danjuma at Wednesday's Champions League game against Manchester United as they plan for Sadio Mane's successor, claims the Daily Mirror.

– Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio remains in Arsenal's sights, reports the Daily Star.

Inter are not considering signing Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno, with Ajax's Andre Onana their preferred acquisition, claims Fabrizio Romano.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed David de Gea as the "best goalkeeper in the world" following his heroics in the stunning Champions League win over Villarreal.

Cristiano Ronaldo struck in the 95th minute to lift United past Villarreal 2-1 in a last-gasp comeback at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

United were fortunate to be on level terms at half-time – De Gea producing a number of saves to thwart Villarreal in a rematch of last season's Europa League final.

Paco Alcacer did find a way past De Gea in the second half, but Alex Telles' sublime volley and Ronaldo's stoppage-time winner ensured United opened their Group F account following the club's matchday one defeat.

Following a difficult 2020-21 campaign, criticism in the wake of the Europa League final loss to Villarreal and doubts over his future after Dean Henderson's return to the Theatre of Dreams, Solskjaer lauded De Gea.

"A very difficult game against a very good team. First half, we had lots of possession, but they counter-attack really well, transition, attack quickly and created some big, big moments in the game," Solskjaer said during his post-match news conference.

"Thankfully, we had the best goalkeeper in the world tonight. David was fantastic and very happy with his performance. Second half. They had more of the ball. It was still open and they deserved to lead.

"But, you know, Old Trafford is magic, Champions League, Old Trafford, sometimes that history can help us. And tonight, Cristiano [Ronaldo], of course, came up with a good goal. And Alex [Telles] scored a fantastic goal."

On De Gea, who made six saves, Solskjaer added: "You are probably right that he had a difficult summer after that [final with Villarreal]. Of course, he went to the Euros, didn't play there, but he's really come back with a determination and work rate that I've enjoyed. And today he got this again.

"He got a deserved outcome because he's saved us. Tonight, we have to be realistic and say that without David, of course, we've got two very good keepers with Tom [Heaton] and Dean [Henderson], but today David deserves the man of the match."

United have lost only once in their last 13 home games in all European competition (W10 D2), with Ronaldo the first Red Devils player to score a 90th-minute winner in the Champions League since Marouane Fellaini against Young Boys in November 2018.

Ronaldo (36 years and 236 days) became the second oldest United player to score a goal in European competition at Old Trafford after Bryan Robson (36y 282d) against Galatasaray in 1993.

No player has scored more 90th-minute winning goals in Champions League history than Ronaldo (three) – level with Sergio Aguero.

It comes after United superstar Ronaldo, who made his 178th Champions League appearance, broke the record for most games played by a single player.

Diogo Dalot said: "When you add Cristiano to the team, it's always a plus. Like I said, many times, he's a fantastic player on and outside the pitch. He gives us energy. But we are a proper team.

"We give to Cristiano as well to help have these moments. Like we saw many times he can be very decisive until the end. But today was a team effort until the end. And we're so glad that Cristiano could score that goal at the end."

Cristiano Ronaldo repeated his desire to make history with Manchester United after his stoppage-time strike helped the Red Devils sneak past Villarreal 2-1 in the Champions League.

Paco Alcacer had given Villarreal a deserved lead at Old Trafford before Alex Telles' stunning volley preceded Ronaldo's 95th-minute winner in front of the Stretford End on Wednesday.

With the late strike, Ronaldo became the first United player to net a 90th-minute winner in the Champions League since Marouane Fellaini in November 2018.

And Ronaldo, who surpassed former Real Madrid team-mate Iker Casillas to become the Champions League's outright appearance holder in his 178th match, expressed his delight at being back in Manchester.

"Everything is open and we believe we can go through [the group]," five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo – who won the Champions League with United in 2008 – told BT Sport.

"This is why I came back because I miss this club, I made history here and I want to do it again.

"I have to say thank you not only from me but from all the team for pushing the team so far this season."

Ronaldo became United's second oldest scorer at home in European competition (36 years and 236 days) after Bryan Robson (36y 282d) against Galatasaray in 1993.

Ronaldo's late heroics also ended a run of four draws against Villarreal, who suffered their first defeat in 18 games – having won 12 and drawn five of their previous matches.

The win gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United their first win in Group F following the matchday one defeat at Young Boys.

United are due to meet leaders Atalanta in their next Champions League fixture on October 20.

Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes said he always believed the Red Devils could win after Cristiano Ronaldo's stoppage-time winner completed a stunning 2-1 Champions League comeback against Villarreal.

United were staring at back-to-back defeats to start their Group F campaign when Paco Alcacer gave visiting Villarreal a 1-0 lead in a repeat of last season's Europa League final at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Villarreal upstaged United in the Europa League decider, but they were unable to shock Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's underperforming side again as Alex Telles equalised with a spectacular volley on the hour before Ronaldo sparked wild celebrations via his 95th-minute strike.

It was a largely frustrating night for United in Manchester, where the Premier League giants relied on some spectacular goalkeeping from David de Gea to remain in the contest, however stand-in captain Fernandes was always confident of a result.

"I always thought we could win, even after they scored," Fernandes, who wore the armband in the absence of injured skipper Harry Maguire, told BT Sport.

"I felt we could always come back into the game and turn it around. After the goal of Alex everyone feels the atmosphere, it was unbelievable. The push from the fans was incredible.

"Some big saves from David who helps a lot to keep us in the game.

"After that at the end Cristiano, strikers always have the feeling to score, and he had it once again."

United have lost only once in their last 13 home games in all European competition (W10 D2), with Ronaldo the first Red Devils player to score a 90th-minute winner in the Champions League since Marouane Fellaini against Young Boys in November 2018.

Ronaldo (36 years and 236 days) became the second oldest United player to score a goal in European competition at Old Trafford after Bryan Robson (36y 282d) against Galatasaray in 1993.

No player has scored more 90th-minute winning goals in champions League history than Ronaldo (three) – level with Sergio Aguero.

It comes after United superstar Ronaldo who made his 178th Champions League appearance – breaking the record for most games played by a single player.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lauded Cristiano Ronaldo for his late winner against Villarreal, saying "there's always a chance" when the Manchester United star is playing.

The Portugal captain made history on Wednesday as he made his 178th Champions League appearance, breaking the record held by Iker Casillas.

The 36-year-old marked the occasion with a 95th-minute goal to give United a 2-1 victory over Unai Emery's side and avenge their shoot-out defeat in last season's Europa League final.

Villarreal had not lost a game in normal time since a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid on the final day of last season, and they fully deserved their lead at Old Trafford when Paco Alcacer converted Arnaut Danjuma's cross.

Alex Telles blasted home a superb volley to level the scores before Ronaldo got United their first Champions League points of 2021-22, firing low past Geronimo Rulli after being teed up by Jesse Lingard.

"That's what happens here at Old Trafford. It's happened so many times before," Solskjaer told BT Sport. "Of course, we had to throw caution to the wind, and we got lucky in the end.

"They're a very, very hard team to beat, they've not lost since way before the [Europa League] final, and they've played some good teams.

"It's a difficult one because we're at home, we want to win, but they play so well that if we don't go and press them, they'll be happy enough sitting off.

"Sometimes, it's not about pass there, pass there. It's the crowd – they've sucked a few balls in before. When you've got Cristiano on the pitch, there's always a chance.

"He's so, so good in front of goal. He has an impact on everyone: the crowd, the players, the whole club.

"It's massive for the players to win games in this fashion after we lost the [Villa] game in that fashion. It's great."

Lingard showed great poise to control Ronaldo's header down from a Fred cross before presenting him with the chance to win the game, and Solskjaer admitted the England international probably deserves to be playing more often.

"Jesse was probably not happy at not playing more," he said. "But he comes on, he makes an impact. That's what you do when you're a sub at this club."

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