Harry Maguire, Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes wore gloomy faces as they arrived at Manchester Airport ahead of United’s crucial Champions League clash with Villarreal a day after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking.
The Red Devils star are still taking in the news off Solskjaer’s dismissal on Sunday following the club’s embarrassing 4-1 defeat to lowly Watford the day before – a result which was the club’s fourth defeat in five matches.
United, now led by caretaker coach and Solskjaer’s former assistant Michael Carrick, now face a massive European clash against group rivals Villarreal and another defeat would put their chances of reaching the last-16 in serious doubt.
Harry Maguire (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo (right) cut gloomy faces while boarding a plane to Manchester United’s next game in Villarreal following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking
Bruno Fernandes was also down in the dumps after arriving at Manchester Airport on Monday
Donny van de Beek looked happier after impressing for United in their 4-1 loss to Watford
Marcus Rashford also looked in a good mood as he prepared to board the plane to Spain
With the Red Devils players travelling with new boss Carrick to Spain on Monday, Portuguese duo Fernandes and Ronaldo, along with club captain Maguire, looked glum as they arrived at the airport for their Monday night flight.
David de Gea, who claimed that United’s players did ‘not know what to do with the ball’ under Solskjaer after the 4-1 defeat to Watford, arrived at the airport with his head down and wearing a baseball cap.
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford looked happy as he arrived at the airport for the trip to Spain, as did Donny van de Beek who impressed during the defeat to Watford and was barely used by Solskjaer during their time working at Old Trafford together.
David de Gea arrived at the airport on Monday with his head bowed and wearing a baseball cap
Anthony Martial also looked cheerful as he prepared for the trip to Spain on Monday afternoon
United know that victory in Valencia on Tuesday night will also take them through to the Champions League knockout stages, which would be a welcome boost after a tumultuous few weeks.
The Red Devils have failed to win five out of their last seven Premier League matches – a run which includes a humiliating 5-0 home loss to arch-rivals Liverpool and a 2-0 Old Trafford defeat to local rivals City.
United players were seen boarding the plane just hours after caretaker boss Carrick spoke to the media for the first time following Solskjaer’s exit over the weekend.
Manchester United’s temporary boss insisted he has ‘his own ideas’ on how they should play following Solskjaer’s exit, despite the fact that the rest of the Norwegian’s backroom staff have stayed on despite the change in manager.
United sacked Norwegian Solskjaer (right) on Sunday after a 4-1 loss at Watford the day before
Carrick revealed on Monday: ‘I worked closely with Ole and we do have very similar beliefs – we did as players and we certainly do as coaches.
‘Of course I’ve got my own personality to Ole but we’re very similar and that’s why we worked together for so long.
‘I’m not giving too much away about what my plans are but I’m very clear in my own mind about how we want to play and I’m looking forward to seeing that on the pitch.’
The 40-year-old paid tribute to Solskjaer during his press conference ahead of his first match in management on Tuesday night.
The Red Devils will be led by caretaker boss Michael Carrick (above) for the Villarreal match
He said: ‘First of all it has been an emotional time for everyone at the club. I’ve been working with Ole now for three years and I’ve known him an awful lot longer. I know the person he is, the values he has, what he believes and how he treats people.
‘To see Ole unfortunately lose his job yesterday was tough for me and tough for a lot of people at the club. You could tell by the emotion around the place yesterday what Ole meant to everyone.
‘We understand and Ole understands it’s a results business so as much as you build the right foundations and environment and you show people the way, you sometimes don’t get what you deserve.
‘On the flip side football is football and it’s business as usual today in terms of preparing the team for tomorrow’s game. It’s a privilege for me to sit in this position and I understand the possibilities that come with that.
Carrick (right) steps up into the role having worked as a first-team coach under Solskjaer (left)
Carrick (above) paid tribute to Solskjaer during his press conference on Monday afternoon
‘The focus now is on flipping our mindset very quickly and that’s something this club has done very well historically.’
Carrick will act as caretaker boss until the Red Devils find an interim boss until the end of the season, the club confirmed on Sunday.
After Tuesday’s trip to Villarreal, United then travel to Premier League leaders Chelsea – who are unbeaten in their last six top-flight matches – for Carrick’s first domestic game in management.
Captain Maguire, meanwhile, claimed that United’s players need to accept the blame for Solskjaer’s exit from the club after three years in charge.
Maguire (right) described Sunday’s events as ‘tough’ after Solskjaer (left) was sacked as boss
‘The players need to take responsibility for everything on and off the pitch,’ Maguire told reporters in a press conference on Monday. ‘We were in this together. We are all so disappointed.
‘We need to get this club back to where it was. It’s been a hard time for us as players given the respect we had for him (Solskjaer). We’ve been on a journey together. The emotion around the place was difficult to be in.
‘We wanted to succeed and the result wasn’t good enough. It’s a result business. The players need to take responsibility. We are in this together.
‘Ultimately the manager has paid the price, we are all so disappointed by that. We know we haven’t been good enough. We have spoken about that. The lads want to succeed.’