Ralf Rangnick felt his United side reacted positively from defeat to Wolves in their last game and was pleased with the way they saw out victory after a number of near-misses from Villa earlier in the game.
“I think we showed a reaction after the Wolves game, that is what everyone expected from us,” he told BBC Sport.
“We knew it would be very difficult against Villa. In the first half, I thought we did well. It could have been 3-2 or 4-3 to us at half-time.
“In the second half, we were on the counter-attack and we could have made more of those situations. We took the wrong decisions at times but when we changed to a diamond in midfield we had more control.
“In the last 20 minutes, we had more control. We fought well as a team together when it was important. In the end, it was a good win. That was our goal, to proceed to the next round.”
The German re-iterated his priority towards keeping clean sheets as United registered their third shut-out since his arrival, and heaped praise on David De Gea who kept out a number of presentable Villa opportunities in either half.
He said: “We have to develop the team into a clean sheet team and that was another one today but still David de Gea was outstanding again for me today.
“I would have wanted him to have less saves in total, I think we had four or five shots on goal but again we can still improve even in that area.”
Mason Greenwood in question:
Rashford was by far the worst culprit, but there was a big moment where Mason Greenwood was guilty of failing to help his team out in the second half too.
With 10 minutes to go, Bruno Fernandes received the ball on the edge of the box and called on Greenwood in front of him to move to the right where there were acres of open space, from where he could pass the ball, and the youngster could deliver a cross.
Greenwood simply refused, and Fernandes had to turn behind him and pass the ball back to a defender.
Ralf Rangnick demands maximum effort from his players, and either his star forwards are too unfit to offer it over 90 minutes, or there is something deeper that is wrong with them. Greenwood himself has just 1 goal in his last 10 games.
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