Michael Carrick dedicates victory to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Michael Carrick dedicated the club’s 2-0 victory over Villarreal on Tuesday to recently-departed manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
After the Norwegian’s dismissal on Sunday, Carrick has taken caretaker charge of first-team affairs and he couldn’t have asked for a better start.
Michael Carrick secures victory in first game in charge.
Late goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho secured a 2-0 away win for the Red Devils and sealed the top spot with a game to spare in a Champions League group that also contains Atalanta and Young Boys.
Carrick was on the Man United coaching staff under Solskjaer and had just over 48 hours, including travel time, to prepare the squad for what seemed like a tricky test against the Old Trafford side’s 2021 Europa League Final conquerors.
Afterwards, the former United midfielder spoke about how much the win meant to him as he looks to lift spirits while the club continues its search for a new manager.
Carrick: “That one’s for Ole.”
“That one meant a lot,” Carrick said. “It was a tough, tough game, they’re a good team. They really test you and make you work, they’re really good with the ball and push you to the limit defensively. We had to be good at times, we had to dig in at times tonight and I thought, as the game grew, we got better.”
The 40-year-old also credited goalkeeper David De Gea with making some crucial saves throughout the game before saving a special word for his ex-teammate Solskjaer.
“A clean sheet too, David’s had to make a save or two for us and keep us in the game when he has to. It’s a terrific night for the players, a terrific night for the club, to go through in the Champions League is amazing. That one’s for Ole that.”
“It’s been an emotional few days.”
At his post-match press conference, Carrick outlined how emotional the past few days have been for him and his players as they come to terms with manager’s departure.
He also confirmed that he consulted with Solskjaer before taking on his caretaker role.
“It’s not an important result for me personally, it’s an important result for the club and an important result for the players,” he said.
“Tonight’s not about me by any stretch. It’s been an emotional few days and the first person I spoke to when (executive vice-chairman) Ed Woodward asked me to do this role was Ole, to see what he thought about it because I felt that was the right thing to do.
“I have a responsibility to be here to manage the team and I take great pride in that. It wasn’t about me tonight though, it was about getting through.
“It was a massive game. When you get to this stage of a group in the Champions League, it can swing so easily both ways so it was vital that we came here and got the right result.
“We managed to do that so I’m delighted.”
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Man United have confirmed that they are on the hunt for an interim manager to take charge for the rest of the season before putting a permanent manager in place, although the interim manager stage could be skipped if a permanent boss can be found sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, Carrick will be tasked with preparing his troops for a Premier League showdown with Chelsea this coming Sunday.