Michael Carrick dedicates Manchester United’s win over Villarreal to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, admitting ‘it’s been an exciting few days’ after replacing the club legend and securing a place in the Champions League round of 16.
Michael Carrick dedicated the victory over Villarreal to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he guided Manchester United to the knockout phase of the Champions League.
Carrick’s first win as an interim manager since he replaced Solskjaer on Sunday made him the first Englishman to win his first game as United manager in 90 years.
Jadon Sancho also scored for the first time since moving to Old Trafford for £ 73 million in the summer to score United’s first Champions League win away from home in a year.
Michael Carrick dedicated Manchester United’s victory over Villarreal to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
“It hasn’t been an easy couple of days for everyone at the club,” Carrick said. “ I can enjoy it a lot, but still, that result feels like it is for Ole, I can’t escape it.
“It is not an important result for me, it is for the club and the players. Tonight is not about me in any way.
‘It has been an exciting few days. The first person I spoke to when it all happened and Ed (Woodward) asked me to play the part was Ole to see what he thought about it.
Carrick (right) is now United’s interim boss after Solskjaer (left) was fired at the weekend.
Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Jadon Sancho (left) scored the goals in the close victory
“I have a responsibility to be here and lead the team and I am very proud of that.
“We had a job to do without thinking about it, things had to be taken care of, and luckily everything went according to plan in the end.”
Carrick made a bold call to ditch Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford for Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial. He reversed the change in the second half and saw United score twice through Cristiano Ronaldo and Sancho.
The 2-0 win means United are guaranteed Group F qualification with a home game against Young Boys.
Sancho’s late goal, which crashed off the crossbar, was his first goal for United since arriving
“I had a feeling it would be a close game,” Carrick added. ‘I said before the game that it is important who starts it, but it is just as important how you finish it.
‘That was the balancing act that went through the minds of my staff and me, and in the end it came to fruition.
‘The game developed as I thought. When you’ve had the results we’ve had and have gone through what we’ve got, it would be very silly to think that it would flow freely and that everything would be wonderful.
‘We came here to win the game. I thought we would, we were ready for tonight, and that turned out to be the case.
Carrick (right) admitted that the start of his temporary reign at Old Trafford has been ’emotional’
“In some ways it was the best way to win as a team. We had to show some character, dig deep and fight. ‘
On Sancho’s first goal for the club, Carrick said: ‘It will give Jadon a big boost. What I liked the most was the effort and the application that he put in without the ball. Sometimes I didn’t see a lot of ball, but I was doing work. ”
The United goalkeeper also paid tribute to Ronaldo after he scored his sixth goal in the Champions League this season.
“There is not much more I can say about Cristiano,” Carrick added. ‘It’s what he does in the big games and in the big moments. When you need something, he is there to give you.