Michael Carrick called Ole Gunnar Solskjær before taking over at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s interim manager has revealed.
“It’s been an emotional few days,” Carrick said after leading his side to a 2-0 win at Villarreal. “And the first person I spoke to was Ole to see what he thought about it, because I thought that was the right thing to do. I take pride in the responsibility of taking the team.”
Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and a first for Jadon Sancho put the smiles back on United supporters’ faces after a miserable time of late. “Tonight was not important for me personally but for the team. It was about getting through and it can swing both ways, so I am delighted,” said Carrick.
“Four [defeats] … we can’t hide from that. So, to get that feeling of winning a match again is huge for the players. We needed David [de Gea] at times but to keep a clean sheet was important. The best thing was the reaction of the players. Situations like this test you, you find out who the real characters are and everyone stuck together fantastically well.”
Sancho’s goal was particularly pleasing for Carrick, with the England international having had an uncomfortable time since his £73m summer move from Borussia Dortmund. “Jadon’s goal will give him a massive boost but I thought it was his performance over all,” Carrick said. “He likes the ball at his feet, you can see he has a smile on his face when he’s doing that, but the most important thing for me is the effort and application off the ball. At times he wasn’t getting the ball but, in the end, you get what you deserve and I was delighted for him to score.
“That epitomises the team’s performance – the determination to dig in at times. It is up to him how he kicks on now, what happens next. He has all the talent in the world.”
If Sancho was a surprise inclusion, there was nothing unexpected about the opening goal coming from Ronaldo. “There’s not much more I can really say about Cristiano that hasn’t been said over the years,” the caretaker coach added.
“It is what is he does: in the big games, the big moments, when you need him, he is there to deliver. He has a cold, calculated mentality: he is so calm when he gets chances – he doesn’t snatch at them. He has been gifted that talent. I say ‘gifted’: he works so hard at it. I’m not surprised at all he came up with the goal tonight.”