Manchester United caretaker manager Michael Carrick is relishing the challenge of leading the team for their Champions League clash with Villarreal following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Norwegian was relieved of his duties at Old Trafford on Sunday following a poor run of results, culminating in a humiliating 4-1 defeat at Watford on Saturday.
Carrick was a part of Solskjaer’s backroom staff and has been asked to take charge of the Red Devils until an interim manager can be hired to see them through to the end of the season.
Speaking at a media conference ahead of the trip to Spain for Tuesday’s game, Carrick told reporters: “My mindset is that I’m preparing the team for tomorrow night and I’ll give it my best.
“This club has been my life for an awful long time now. I’m not too sure [how long it will be for] but that’s not on my mind right now.
“It’s a big game for us. I will go about my job as I know, trust myself and my staff, the players and look forward to the game.”
When asked if there are likely to be any changes in tactics on his watch, Carrick responded: “I’ve worked closely with Ole for a long time now and we have similar beliefs.
“Of course, I have my own personality but it’s very similar [to Solskjaer] and that’s why we’ve worked together well for a period of time. I have clear plans in my own mind of what we want to do and how we want to go about it.
“It’s a challenge I’m relishing at the moment and I’m really looking forward to it. I know it’s not what we wanted but it’s a fantastic group – they’ve proved that before and they’ll prove it again.”
The former United and England midfielder was also asked when he found out he would be taking charge of the team for at least the next game.
“I found out [Sunday] at the training ground,” Carrick said. “I didn’t know anything before then and I don’t think anyone [among coaching staff and players] did. Ole was already here. It was a bit of a rush then to organise training, speak to the players and carry out the day’s work.
“All things considered, it went really well yesterday, everyone adapted in a really classy manner.”
United go into the game at Villarreal top of Group F but level on seven points with the Spanish side, while Atalanta are just two points behind in third.
“The biggest thing for the fans is a result,” Carrick insisted. “There’s a responsibility that comes with playing for this club that doesn’t come with playing for many others.
“[Villarreal] have a good mix, a good balance and we respect that. We’ve met a couple of times and we know each other a little bit better. It’s a big game for both teams but it’s one we can really look forward to.”
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