Michael Carrick was victorious in his first outing as Manchester United caretaker manager. Carrick calls for focus after emotional few days at Man Utd Sign up HERE for the latest MUFC breaking news and transfer updates
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Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has a glaring reason to thank Michael Carrick after the caretaker manager deployed a new tactic against Villarreal. The former midfielder left onlookers impressed as United battled to a 2-0 victory, getting his potentially short tenure off to a great start after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday.
A new-look United lined up in a different shape against Villarreal to what fans have become accustomed to this season.
Carrick was clearly not scared to implement his own philosophy after admitting earlier this week that he would approach the top job with his own ideas.
His bravery was rewarded with an impressive victory, earned through first-half solidity and a well-timed burst after the break.
Ronaldo was the first to get amongst the goals with a typically clinical finish, while Jadon Sancho upped the feel-good factor by notching his first for the club in the closing stages.
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Cristiano Ronaldo scored in Man Utd’s win over Villarreal (Image: GETTY)
Carrick’s decision to deploy Ronaldo on the left wing, occasionally switching with Sancho to the right, raised eyebrows based on the fact he has played through the middle for most of the season.
However, based on past interviews, the Portuguese has simply returned to the position where he is much more comfortable.
“People think I am a striker. I will never be a striker,” he claimed in 2017.
“I have scored almost 600 goals from the position I play in so why change.
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“I prefer to play more freely, when we play in a 4-4-2, I prefer it more. But that is not to say that I don’t like 4-3-3 because in that system I can move differently and I start in different positions.
“It’s obvious that I prefer to play more freely because that’s where I play with Portugal but obviously I like 4-3-3 too.”
Having gone two games without a goal, Ronaldo has good reason to thank Carrick as his cameo out wide got him back amongst the action.
The caretaker boss’ decision came in stark contrast to Solskjaer’s own preference, as demonstrated clearly by his comments when Ronaldo first signed during the summer.
Michael Carrick got off to a victorious start as Man Utd caretaker boss (Image: GETTY)
“Cristiano has evolved as a player,” said the Norwegian after United’s win over Wolves in August.
“He used to play wide right, wide left, he’s more of a centre-forward for me at the moment, definitely.
“There’ll be games where we play with two up front, three up front, but I want him up top scoring goals.”