Michael Carrick boost as Manchester United’s interim manager’s ‘serious talent’ laid bare

Michael Carrick praises Jose Mourinho's winning mentality

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Carrick will take charge of the Reds for the first time this evening in the club’s vital Champions League clash with Villarreal, where victory will see them through to the competition’s knockout stages. The former midfielder has been placed in temporary charge of Manchester United in the wake of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking on Sunday morning, following a 4-1 defeat to Watford. Yet Carrick has never taken charge of a professional game, and faces a baptism of fire as he prepares to pit his wits against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea on Sunday after tonight’s tricky Champions League encounter.

Carrick will be in charge while the club’s hierarchy look for an interim manager to see them through until the end of the season, at which point they plan to recruit a permanent boss.

However, behind the scenes Carrick, has displayed his coaching nous since he was given a position as part of Jose Mourinho’s backroom staff three years ago.

Speaking to the club’s official website in 2018 about the coaching potential of Carrick and Kieran McKenna, Phelan said: “They have got some serious talent. 

“I think Michael now is progressing really well. 

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“He’s finding his feet in the organisational side of it, and he’s got a great opinion on the game and has been an exceptional player.”

After his arrival to Manchester United in 2006 as a player, Carrick formed an effective partnership in midfield with Paul Scholes.

As a deep-lying playmaker, he was lauded for his range of passing, vision and ability to dictate the tempo of a game. 

As a manager, Carrick said he relished the prospect of turning a stuttering United’s form, though suggested that the club would not be completely transformed in his limited time as caretaker boss.

He said: “We’ll have to see, really. 

“Obviously I’ve worked closely with Ole for a long time now and we do have very similar beliefs. 

“We did as players and we certainly do as coaches and managers. 

“Of course I’ve got my own personality, but it’s very similar, that’s why we worked together for so long and it went so well for a period of time.

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“I’m not giving too much away of what my plans are, but I’m very clear in my own mind what we want to do. 

“I have my own ideas about how we want to play, how we want to go about it and I’m looking forward to seeing that on the pitch.”

For all the disruption at Old Trafford, United cannot afford another poor performance tonight away to Villarreal.

The Red Devils are tied with the Spanish club at the top of Group F on seven points, with victory securing automatic qualification into the knockout stages.

Yet, defeat could see Atalanta leapfrog United into second place with just a game remaining in the competition’s group stages. 

Carrick has made a massive call by leaving the talismanic Bruno Fernandes among the substitutes, and handing Donny van de Beek his third start of the season. 

The caretaker manager has made three further changes from the team that lost 4-1 to Watford on Saturday, with Fred replacing Nemanja Matic and Anthony Martial starting ahead of Marcus Rashford.

Alex Telles also comes in at left back for the injured Luke Shaw.

Ahead of kick-off, Carrick said: “It’s like every game we go into. 

“Whatever the recent form, whatever is happening around it, you’ve got to go into the game to try to win the game.”

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