Later News Nov 24

Carrick stakes claim for interim managerial role at Manchester United with win over Villarreal


Will we get to see Michael Carrick at the wheel for the rest of the season?

 

The former Manchester United midfielder certainly did his chances of being appointed interim manager of the club no harm, after he masterminded their 2-0 win over Unai Emery’s Villarreal in their Champions League Group F match this morning (SGT).

 

WATCH: Carrick highlights importance of win over Villarreal

 

With the victory, which was secured through goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho, the Red Devils have secured passage to the knockout stages of the tournament – thus ending their long hunt for the elusive Europa League title.

 

Carrick took charge of United following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last Sunday, and immediately made some telling changes, not least by ending Donny van de Beek’s long-term relationship with the bench, and bringing him into the starting line-up.

 

Unfortunately, the Dutchman, evidently heartbroken over being separated from the bench, put in a near anonymous performance, and was eventually reunited with his great love in the 66th minute.

 

Van de Beek’s replacement, Bruno Fernandes, immediately made an impact when he came on, and even got himself an assist for Sancho’s goal in the 90th minute.

 

After the game, Carrick hailed United’s victory as a “big one”, as he highlighted how important it was for his players that they finally felt the sweet taste of victory after such a long time.

 

“The result obviously is a major plus from the run we’ve gone on – we can’t hide that,” said Carrick. “To get that feeling of winning a football match for the players is huge, and to keep a clean sheet, David (de Gea) was important again, so all round there’s a lot of positives to take.

 

“The biggest [positive] I’ll take is how everyone adapted, the reaction and how they pulled together. In situations like this there’s mixed emotions. 

 

“It’s a test of people and you find out who the real characters are, who’s there with you and who’s not. I thought everyone stuck together in terms of supporting me and my staff and we managed to get the win which is very pleasing. It was a big one.”

 

Carrick’s chances of remaining interim manager of United, however, could be derailed by a certain Mauricio Pochettino, who has been closely linked with the role left vacant by Solskjaer.

 

Thankfully for Carrick, the Paris Saint-Germain coach has played down the possibility of him leaving the French giants, and reiterated that he was “happy” at the club.

 

WATCH: Pochettino talks about how he manages PSG's dressing room

 

“I am focused. I am very focused on football. I am not a child, I spend my whole life playing football, and now my 12th year being coach, we're in a business that the rumours are there. I understand what is going on,” Pochettino said.

 

“This kind of thing cannot distract. Rumours are there, we need to live with that. We are so focused, giving 100 per cent to get our best from the club and the players. I am so happy at Paris Saint-Germain…what another club are doing is not my business, I need to be focused on PSG. 

 

“I'm not going to make the mistake of talking. You know everything we'll say, it was in the past when at Espanyol when I said my dream was to meet Sir Alex (Ferguson), anything I say now is going to be misunderstood and out of context. I was a PSG player. I love the club. I love the fans. We are fighting in Ligue 1 and the Champions League.

 

“My contract is to 2023. This season and one season more. I don't say nothing different. I am very happy at PSG. That is a fact.”

 

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