Michael Carrick’s three-match tenure as Manchester United caretaker manager ended with a 3-2 win over Arsenal and the 40-year-old announcing he had left the club after 15 years due, partly due to “loyalty” to Ole Gunnar Solskjær, who was sacked last month.
United’s victory came via two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and one from Bruno Fernandes, with Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Ødegaard scoring for Mikel Arteta’s visitors. It followed Sunday’s draw at Chelsea and the Champions League win at Villarreal under Carrick, who ended his time in charge unbeaten.
Carrick cited as his reasons for departing United the arrival of Ralf Rangnick, the interim manager, who was at Old Trafford to see the victory, and his feelings toward Solskjær, whom he worked under as a coach.
“It is 100% my decision,” Carrick said. “I respect a new manager coming in. I made the decision before speaking to him. It wasn’t an easy one but [it is the] right decision for the club. The loyalty to Ole is a little bit of a factor but there were a lot of things that came into my decision.
“I was conscious of making my decision before any real conversations with Ralf. I wanted to be clearcut. It was nothing personal at all. He’s got a good group of players to work with and hopefully we’ll look back at this as being a big result.
“I’m proud of the players over the past three games. I just told them and they were a bit shocked and surprised, a bit emotional in the changing room.”
Carrick was asked what he will do next. “I can honestly say I’ve given it no thought. I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow. Take the kids to school then we’ll see,” he said. “My time at this great club will always rank as the best years of my career.”
In 464 United games before retiring in 2018, Carrick won five Premier League titles, the FA Cup, two League Cups, the Champions League, the Europa League and the Club World Cup. He then joined the coaching staff under José Mourinho.
Smith Rowe’s goal was awarded by VAR after Martin Atkinson had initially ruled it out after seeing that David de Gea was on the turf, having been hurt by his own player, Fred. “It was very strange, I’ve probably not seen one like that with the keeper down,” said Carrick.
Arteta said: “Conceding three goals at Old Trafford [means it] is tricky to get something out of the game.”