After the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester United manager, former United midfielder Michael Carrick is currently in charge as a temporary caretaker manager.
Solskjaer was sacked as United boss after just one win in United’s last seven Premier League games, with the 4-1 defeat to Watford last weekend ultimately proving to be the final straw for the Norwegian manager after a collection of embarrassing defeats.
As well as a 4-1 loss to Watford, Solskjaer presided over a 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool, a 4-2 defeat at Leicester City and 2-0 loss to Manchester City – all in the space of three weeks.
Now without a permanent manager, United have appointed club coach Michael Carrick as the temporary boss as the search for a new manager goes on, and the 40-year-old won his first game in charge of the club as United beat Villareal 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League to guarantee their spot in the Round of 16.
Carrick has been a coach at United since his retirement from football in 2018, working under both Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer in that time.
So, if Carrick was to remain as manager until the end of the season, what would the outcome be?
To have a look, we simulated the remainder of this season in Football Manager 2022 with Carrick in charge of Manchester United.
Michael Carrick’s first season as Man United manager simulated To set up this simulation, we arranged for Carrick to remain as Manchester United boss on FM22 after 12 Premier League games and simulated until the end of the 2021/22 season to see how the former United midfielder performed until the end of the campaign.
This is Carrick’s in-game profile on Football Manager 2022.
Carrick’s in-game profile on FM22 (Image: Football Manager 2022) Compared to other candidates for the role, Carrick has by far the least experienced and developed managerial profile in FM22, with the 40-year-old having never managed a team prior to this season.
His adaptability (19) and determination (17) are very high, but he lacks in other areas such as his level of fitness (1), discipline (3), defending (7) and motivating (10).
Like Solskjaer, his preferred formation is 4-2-3-1, with his managerial methods set to be similar to the Norwegian due to working under him for three years.
At the end of the 2021/22 season, Football Manager 2022 put together an overall best Man United XI, based on performances, statistics and other metrics.
This is what United’s best XI looked like at the end of the 2021/22 season as predicted by Football Manager 2022:
Man United’s best XI from the 2021/22 season sim (Image: Football Manager 2022) United’s best XI: De Gea; Wan Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Fernandes, McTominay; Sancho, Lingard, Rashford; Ronaldo.
Carrick retained the much-used 4-2-3-1 formation, but the English manager made some personnel changes to the starting XI.
Bruno Fernandes was moved into a deeper role alongside Scott McTominay, leaving no space in the starting XI for Fred, Paul Pogba or Donny van de Beek.
The movement of Fernandes freed up space in the attacking midfielder role, giving Jesse Lingard the chance to rejuvenate his Man United career.
Man United’s best players from the 2021/22 season simulation (Image: Football Manager 2022) Cristiano Ronaldo finished the season as United’s top goalscorer and best player, with an average rating of 7.55 per game.
In 47 appearances the striker grabbed 28 goals and five assists, but it was Fernandes who finished with the best goal contribution – 20 goals and 27 assists in 53 games.
Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho both had good seasons under Carrick, with the latter reaching double figures in both goals and assists in his first season.
So, where did United finish at the end of the season? Let’s take a look.
United’s 2021/22 season under Carrick
Man United finished fifth with Carrick as boss in the FM22 simulation (Image: Football Manager 2022) In his 26 Premier League games in charge, Carrick won 16, drew six and lost four, but he could only lead United to a fifth-placed finish – just missing out on the Champions League places.
Compared to Solskjaer’s 12 games in charge, the simulation predicted that Carrick would lose one less than the Norwegian boss, despite taking charge of over double the amount of games.
Man City won the league whilst Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal made up the rest of the top four.
United won the FA Cup in the FM22 simulation with Carrick in charge (Image: Football Manager 2022) Carrick was able to win a trophy in his time at United, though, with a Ronaldo brace and Rashford goal seeing the Reds beat Man City 3-2 in the FA Cup final.
Ajax proved too much for United in the Champions League quarter-finals though, with the Dutch side winning 4-2 over the two legs.
This simulation says a lot about the strength of United’s squad and even more about Solskjaer’s inability to get the best out of it.
Overall, Football Manager 2022 predicts that if United were to appoint Carrick as their new manager, the inexperienced manager could lead United to an FA Cup trophy and a fifth-place finish in the Premier League, potentially losing fewer games than Solskjaer whilst managing over double the games.
Do you think Carrick would be the right appointment at Manchester United? Let us know in the comments!