Manchester United’s caretaker manager Michael Carrick has reassured fans that the team will be ready for Tuesday’s crunch Champions League match with Villarreal.
The fixture will be the club’s first since the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and the difficult 4-1 defeat at Watford on Saturday that now stands as the Norwegian’s final game in charge.
But there’s little time to reflect on recent events for Carrick and his staff, with the Reds desperately needing a positive result in Spain.
Ahead of the match, the former United midfielder struck a positive tone and said the players were looking forward to getting on with the task at hand, despite the sadness around Ole leaving the club.
“Football’s football and this is a usual day in terms of [the fact] we’ve got a big game to prepare for,” said Carrick, at the pre-match press conference.
“It’s a privilege for me to now sit in this position. I understand the responsibility that comes with that, and now the focus is flipping our minds and moving forward quickly. It’s what this club does very well; it’s what this club’s done very well historically.
“We’re very much looking forward to the game tomorrow, and going over there with a real positive mind and attitude. The boys will be ready for it. We can’t wait for the game to come.”
Journalists later asked Carrick if he had been given any indication how long he might remain in the hotseat, but the 40-year-old said he had not looked any further than Tuesday’s Champions League test.
“In terms of what I understand, my mindset is picking the team for tomorrow night,” he explained. “I know the club really well. It’s been my life for a long time now. Whether it’s one [game], two or longer than that, I’m not too sure. That’s not on my mind.
“It’s a big game tomorrow and I’ll go about the job as I do. We’re positive. It’s a fantastic game of football and we’ll be tested, but these are the nights to remember. I’m really looking forward to it.
“I’m not giving too much away, but I’m very clear in my own mind about how we’re going to go about it.”
Carrick was also quick to pay tribute to Solskjaer’s work, and the respect and affection that still remain towards him at the club.
“To see Ole lose his job yesterday was tough for me,” he said. “You could tell from the emotion around the place [how much people respect him].
“It was a pleasure working with him, so it was a sad day for me.”