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Sport: CL hits and misses: Carrick makes all the right calls

What is Man Utd's interim manager Michael Carrick like as a coach?

  What is Man Utd's interim manager Michael Carrick like as a coach? CHRIS WHEELER IN VILLARREAL: Sir Alex Ferguson didn't use to call on Michael Carrick at Manchester United until the weather turned and it was raining in autumn. 'Michael was always a slow starter when he first arrived,' recalled Ferguson. 'The rain started in September and October and he came into his own.'Well, the dark clouds have certainly been gathering over Old Trafford and Carrick is the unlikely figure United have turned to following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Carrick makes all the right calls on his Man Utd managerial debut

What a start to life as interim Man Utd boss for Michael Carrick, who won his first match in temporary charge of the club, a vital 2-0 over Villarreal at El Madrigal that saw the visitors qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League as Group F winners with a game to spare.

Michael Carrick won his first game in temporary charge of Man Utd © Getty Michael Carrick won his first game in temporary charge of Man Utd

Carrick made four changes from Saturday's 4-1 humiliation at Watford, the most eye-catching of which was his decision to leave Bruno Fernandes on the bench.

How the teams lined up | Match statsCarrick: Utd players showed their character in Villarreal winChampions League fixtures | Results | Group tables

The Portugal playmaker has created more chances than any other player in Europe's premier club competition so far this season, but Carrick had a game plan to keep it tight, before sending on Fernandes and the pace of Rashford in the final quarter of the match.

Man United legends share their opinions on Carrick becoming manager

  Man United legends share their opinions on Carrick becoming manager Carrick, in his first game in charge after the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the weekend, oversaw a 2-0 victory at Villarreal - with Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho on target.Carrick, in his first game in charge after the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the weekend, oversaw a 2-0 victory at Villarreal - with Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho both scoring in an improved team performance.

The plan worked to perfection as United's attacking flair players took charge and late goals on the break from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho sealed the win and saw Carrick become the first English manager to win his first game in charge of United (excluding second spells) since Walter Crickmer in November 1931.Richard Morgan

Sancho's shackles are released

Jadon Sancho's career at Manchester United starts now.

You expect a young player to take time to get his feet under the table at a big club but for a player of Sancho's calibre to not score or assist in any of his first 14 appearances is surprising.

Villarreal 0-2 Man Utd - Match report, player ratings

Then again, he wasn't being asked to play right-wing back as Michael Carrick took a sensible and simple approach to his first game as interim boss. He made United hard to beat and actually played Sancho in his best position - off the right wing. There were defensive responsibilities on his shoulders - no player made more tackles than him on the night (4) - but there was a spark when he got the ball, almost like the shackles had been lifted.

Saha says ‘unplayable’ Man Utd outcast can help them ‘fly’

  Saha says ‘unplayable’ Man Utd outcast can help them ‘fly’ Martial started just his fourth game of the season in Carrick's first game in charge.United have won just one of their last seven Premier League games and are now 12 points behind leaders Chelsea.

"I was so pleased for Jadon," Carrick said. "I thought he worked his socks off tonight, I thought he gave everything tonight.

"At times, it wasn't always with the ball and I know how much he enjoys the ball at his feet and trying to make things happen. He showed a different side tonight and, to get his goal at the end, pretty much capped it off perfectly for him and for us…it was a big night for him."

The winger scored his first goal for the club, with a rasping, confident finish that wrapped up United's place in the last 16. But it wasn't just the goal.

There was a flair and direct running to his game that made him look like the Sancho at Borussia Dortmund.

It was an exciting sight. All of his 11 passes in the final third found a team-mate as that ability to make a telling contribution in the dangerous area of the field will surely shine brightly over the next few weeks.

This performance just might be that springboard.Lewis Jones

Carrick joins Man United legends at premiere of Bryan Robson's film

  Carrick joins Man United legends at premiere of Bryan Robson's film Posing for pictures, Carrick - who will be in charge for this weekend's clash against Chelsea - spent time with his legendary former boss Sir Alex Ferguson.Posing for pictures, Carrick - who will remain in charge for this weekend's clash against Chelsea - spent time with his legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

James is the complete package - as are Chelsea

Being a full-back has never been more attractive.

To coin a famous Monday Night Football quote, young footballers may not dream of wanting to grow up to become the next Gary Neville but aspiring to be Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Joao Cancelo is most definitely on-trend. All three feature in the top four players according to Sky Sports' Power Rankings - which ranks every Premier League player based on points being awarded to players for 35 different statistics. Only Mohamed Salah is competing with them on that front.

All three of the Premier League title contenders have playmaking full-backs that are taking centre-stage for their clubs with James grabbing the limelight as Chelsea thrashed Italian giants Juventus.

Meanwhile, James, who tops the Power Rankings, is full of youthful enthusiasm and plays with such quality in everything he does.

How the teams lined up | Match stats

James has everything you want in a footballer. If you were building one from scratch you'd basically just do a copy and paste job on his attributes. His physicality and speed are extraordinary - something we've all been aware of - but what has emerged this season is an eye for goal that is taking him to the next level. Thomas Tuchel is harnessing that by allowing him so much licence to join his forward players from his right-wing back position. This was on full show in Chelsea's win at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United's Premier League record at Chelsea is AWFUL

  Manchester United's Premier League record at Chelsea is AWFUL United have claimed only three wins from 20 league visits since the 2001-02 season, drawing seven and losing 10. It is a stadium where they rarely come away with three points. So it is asking a great deal for Carrick, United's interim to the interim, to turn the historical tide after just seven days at the helm.The positive news for United is that Carrick played a role in two of those three wins at Chelsea - one as a player and one as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's assistant - and so may be a good omen.

He'd already tested Wojciech Szczęsny with a disguised free-kick from near the touchline before taking aim with a fierce half volley that needed beating away. His third effort on goal did the damage though as his chest control and strike into the far corner was a piece of brilliance that fitted such a high-stakes encounter. That was his fifth goal of the season across all competitions meaning he is one of only two players to both score five or more goals and assist five or more goals in all competitions for Premier League clubs this season, along with Salah (16 goals, seven assists).Lewis Jones

No stopping Tuchel's Chelsea

Romelu Lukaku's return to the Chelsea squad for Tuesday's meeting with Juventus was a welcome boost for Thomas Tuchel after a month out. But it is tempting to wonder in light of recent evidence whether they even need him.Since losing their £97.5m striker to an ankle injury against Malmo last month, Chelsea have scored 20 goals in seven games, four of which came in this formidable show of strength at Stamford Bridge as they subjected Juventus to their heaviest defeat since 2004.

Chelsea 4-0 Juventus - Match report, player ratings

Chelsea have shared the goals out in Lukaku's absence - there have been 11 different scorers in total - and that theme continued here, with Trevoh Chalobah, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner all finding the net. Lukaku didn't even make it on.

Carrick makes big Bruno call, £31.5m-rated ace axed: Predicted Man Utd XI vs Chelsea - opinion

  Carrick makes big Bruno call, £31.5m-rated ace axed: Predicted Man Utd XI vs Chelsea - opinion Manchester United will be hoping to make it back-to-back victories under the reign of interim manager Michael Carrick when they take on Chelsea in their Premier League clash this afternoon. The Red Devils look set to appoint Ralf Rangnick as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s successor following successful talks with the German, and they’ll be eager to […]The Red Devils look set to appoint Ralf Rangnick as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s successor following successful talks with the German, and they’ll be eager to put on a good show at Stamford Bridge.

The true brilliance of Tuchel's Chelsea is in how they threaten from all angles. If Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech don't get you then James and Ben Chilwell will. Juventus could not cope with the sheer numbers they got forward; their movement ripping Massimiliano Allegri's defence - a defence manned by Leonardo Bonucci, no less - to shreds.

The injuries to N'Golo Kante and Chilwell dampened the victory but they certainly didn't hinder them on Tuesday night - just as Lukaku's absence hasn't hindered them in the last seven games. Chelsea's strength lies in the collective. The starting line-up changes but the outcome is usually the same.Nick Wright

Versatile Cristiano Ronaldo backed to adapt to Ralf Rangnick’s pressing game .
Michael Carrick has no doubt Cristiano Ronaldo will thrive under Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United.Rangnick was confirmed as United’s interim manager until the end of the season this week, although, with the former Leipzig boss awaiting a work permit, Carrick remains in caretaker charge for Thursday’s visit of Arsenal.

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