Carrick Leaves On A High
Michael Carrick ended a 15-year stint at Manchester United as a player, coach and interim manager at the end of Manchester United’s win over Arsenal. It came as a surprise to me but it was the right thing for him to do and it is nice for him to leave on a high. Michael Carrick, the player, I felt got better as he aged like fine wine. Today, we deeply miss a player like him in our midfield. He was a great servant to the club, a classy top-quality player but under-appreciated. If he was an Italian, Spanish, Argentine or Brazilian player, he would have been appreciated better.
Carrick, The Coach
As a coach, he worked under Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at a time when the club lacked stability and there were higher than usual expectations placed on the team to deliver silverware. In his time at the club, the club failed to deliver any silverware and the jury is out on player development; there might have been one or two players that have improved but not enough to bring the club to where they should be and the development has not been consistent enough. At the end of Solskjaer’s time at the club, his lack of experience as a coach was questioned and truthfully, when it goes wrong the way it did for United, question marks should be raised on everyone on the coaching team.
Carrick, The Interim Manager
Then came the three-game period as interim manager. He rotated the squad a lot more than his predecessor did which was refreshing. United was lacking in confidence and form from the start of his tenure so it would have been impossible to expect a marked difference in performance. Moreover, the team was being managed by the same set of coaches that did so poorly during the free fall of their form under Solskjaer so, in terms of ideas, there wouldn’t be too different from what we saw under Solskjaer. However, I must say there has been steady progress with some luck on our side. Against Villareal, they had most of the possession and had better chances until Bruno Fernandes was brought on, against Chelsea, it didn’t look like we would have scored if not for Jorginho’s mistake, we showed little desire going forward or creating chances otherwise. Yesterday against Arsenal, the match was open but the performance was better. This run of 2 wins and 1 draw in 3 games could stand the team in good stead ahead of the upcoming period under Ralf Rangnick. I wish Carrick all the best in his future endeavours, time will tell how he will do as a manager.
On the performance against Arsenal, it was nice to finally beat Arsenal in the league after a long time, 25th January 2019 in the FA Cup was the last time we beat them and 29th April 2018 was the last time we beat them in the league at Old Trafford. It was perplexing why for most of the match, Marcus Rashford was played on the right-wing and Jadon Sancho on the left-wing when both players normally played better on opposite flanks. Rashford still looks off the boil. Fred had a strange match; typically he was careless in possession and he trodded and floored David De Gea which led to the concession of the first goal but he assisted the equalizer for Fernandes and won the match-winning penalty. I felt Scott McTominay played better than Fred in this match than the last two but both players cannot be regular first-teamers at United. Diogo Dalot made a rare start and he did quite well which shows we can rotate him with Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
There are two players that I feel we greatly miss; Edinson Cavani and Raphael Varane. I really hope they recover soon and we can have them on the pitch. Ralf Rangnick comes with a big reputation but he will need time to impose his idea on the team, get the players to buy into it and get them fit. Let’s take it one game at a time.