'I'm sure they can adapt': Carrick says Man United players will adjust to any new coach

Interim manager backs team before Chelsea clash

Manchester United interim manager Michael Carrick greets Scott McTominay after the UEFA Champions League Group F match at the Estadio de la Ceramica in Villarreal, Spain. PA

Michael Carrick believes Manchester United's players have the ability to adapt to any type of coach before Ralf Rangnick's expected arrival at Old Trafford.

United have been in discussions with the 63-year-old German, whose appointment as interim manager until the end of the season could be confirmed at the weekend.

Reports on Friday afternoon suggest the Old Trafford club had agreed to terms with Rangnick's current employers, Lokomotiv Moscow, to secure his release.

The former Hoffenheim, Schalke and RB Leipzig boss — nicknamed the “Godfather of the Gegenpress” — is widely credited with having influenced the styles of, among others, Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, whose Chelsea side United face at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

United's press came under major scrutiny during the dismal run that led to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer losing his job last weekend, but caretaker boss Carrick said the squad would be able to cope with any new system.

“I think you can get ideas across quite quickly,” he said. “History shows that. Sometimes it's not just about ideas, it's just a different voice, a freshness, and history proves that for whatever reason. Sometimes it works really well, sometimes not so well.

“That's the nature of life and we'll see what happens in the days to come …

“There are lots of different styles in football. We've got a good group of players. Whoever comes in, I'm sure they can adapt. There's real talent and good people, good human beings in the squad, so we'll look forward to what's ahead.”

Carrick would not be drawn on Rangnick's anticipated appointment directly, describing it as “speculation and reports” while insisting his focus was purely on Sunday's trip to Premier League leaders Chelsea.

But in facing a side coached by Tuchel, Sunday could give them a first-hand look at what to expect under Rangnick.

Manchester United are in discussions with Ralf Rangnick as they look to appoint an interim manager. PA

“You've got to be hugely impressed by the way they go about things,” Carrick said of the European champions. “They're super intense, well organised and have really good movement across their front line.

“They're very good at having the back three connect with midfield, trying to narrow you up and causing problems through the middle and with the wingbacks. They're really aggressive, playing high and testing your back line and stretching you across the pitch. They've got a really good balance.”

As he prepares for his second game in charge, Carrick, part of the coaching set-up at United since retiring as a player in 2018, added that he had not had time to think about his own future under any new manager.

“My focus is on preparing the team as best I can,” he said. “I've got a huge responsibility and I've given everything to that. Anything else is for after Sunday.”

But Carrick said he had been able to enjoy the challenges he has faced this week, having been thrown in at the deep end when he was given a little over 48 hours to prepare for the 2-0 Champions League win over Villarreal on Tuesday night.

“I've been quite calm this week,” he said. “The staff and the players have supported me very well and not given me an awful lot of problems, if any.

“I've embraced the challenge. Initially it was a little bit of a testing time, but once you get over that and the games get under way, the business takes over and that side of it, I've quite enjoyed.”

Late goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho gave United a victory in Villarreal, booking their passage to the last 16 and ending the three-game winless run that ultimately cost Solskjaer his job.

“It was a big boost and a much-needed win for lots of reasons,” Carrick added. “First and foremost, for the players to have that feeling again, there's a bit of confidence, a bit of belief that I'm sure they lost.

“Sunday is another massive game for us. There are the ones you've got to enjoy, testing yourself against a team that is playing very well.”

Updated: November 26th 2021, 11:51 PM