Manchester United 3 VS 2 Arsenal

MANCHESTER, England — Michael Carrick has decided to leave Manchester United following his stint as caretaker manager, the club have announced.

United released a statement within minutes of the final whistle after their 3-2 win over Arsenal to reveal Carrick has decided to step down from his role as first-team coach and will leave the club with immediate effect. Ralf Rangnick, who was watching from the stands, will take the reins on Friday until the end of the season.

“My time at this great club will always rank as the best years of my career,” said Carrick. “When I first signed over 15 years ago, I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined winning so many trophies and I will certainly never forget the fantastic memories both as a player and as a member of the coaching team.

“However, after a lot of thought and deliberation, I have decided that now is the right time for me to leave the club. I want to place on record my thanks to all of the players and a special mention goes to the backroom staff, working long hours with such a great group of people has been a real pleasure and I have made some long-lasting friendships.

“I am, and will always be, a Manchester United fan and will come to as many matches as possible. I would like to wish Ralf, the staff, the players and the fans all the best for the future and I look forward to being in the stands and supporting the boys as a fan.”

Carrick took over as caretaker boss after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dismissal on Nov. 21. In his three games in charge, he led United to wins over Villarreal and Arsenal and a draw against Chelsea.

“He just spoke to us in the dressing room, an emotional dressing room really, as he’s been a big part of this club for a large number of years as a player but also as a coach,” United captain Harry Maguire said after the match. “He’s been a great player for this club, a legend at the club, he’s won everything at the club and he’s been a fantastic servant in terms of his coaching.

“He’s a really likable man, all the lads respect him and he’s been amazing with each and every one of us. We’re going to miss him, of course we’re going to miss him, and we wish him well for the future.”

Carrick, who worked as a coach under Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho after ending his playing career in 2018, was the last to leave the pitch after victory over Arsenal, spending time to applaud the Stretford End.

Football director John Murtough added: “Michael leaves with the sincerest thanks and best wishes of everyone at Manchester United after 15 years of exceptional service to the club as a player and as a coach. While we are sad to see him go, we respect and understand Michael’s decision.

“He will always be known as one of the finest midfielders in the history of Manchester United, and, more recently, as an excellent coach who has worked tirelessly under two managers to help develop the strong squad which Ralf will now take charge of. We are grateful for the steady leadership Michael has shown through this period of managerial transition, and, while he is now stepping away from day-to-day involvement, he will always be welcome back as a legend of the club.”

There’s a new boss at Manchester United, but Ralf Rangnick already knows that Cristiano Ronaldo is still the main man.

Who knows how Rangnick’s six-month stint as interim manager at Old Trafford will ultimately turn out, but two goals from Ronaldo — the 800th and 801st of his career — in a 3-2 win against Arsenal proved that he simply cannot be overlooked by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s temporary successor.

Rangnick, the former Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig coach, will officially replace caretaker-manager Michael Carrick, who announced his departure from the club after the game, when he takes his first training session on Friday. The German watched from the directors’ box as his new team emerged triumphant in an eventful clash against the Gunners and he will have left with his notebook full of issues to address.

He needs to deal with a goalkeeper in David De Gea whose fragility in a packed penalty area once again contributed to a goal being conceded when, in farcical circumstances, Arsenal took the lead after Emile Smith Rowe scored while the Spaniard was lying on the floor following a “foul” by United teammate Fred. VAR had to confirm the visitors’ goal due to the confusion surrounding the incident.

And aside from De Gea, who went on to make a series of outstanding saves, Rangnick will be concerned about the quality in both full-back positions, Fred and Scott McTominay’s limitations in midfield and the inconsistency of Marcus Rashford up front.

But while Ronaldo, who is 37 in February, cannot expect to play every game between now and the end of the season, his performance against Arsenal will have banished any doubts Rangnick may have held over his value to the team.

As the man credited as being the so-called “Father of Gegenpress,” the high-energy pressing game which requires forwards to be the first line of defence, Rangnick is unlikely to abandon his philosophy simply to accommodate Ronaldo in his team.

Rangnick may bend slightly and make allowances for Ronaldo because of his peerless ability to score crucial goals, but it is the player who will have to measure up and prove himself in the end.

Ronaldo’s sharp exit down the tunnel at Stamford Bridge following Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea, when he was dropped to the substitutes’ bench by Carrick, highlighted how the former Real Madrid and Juventus forward will never accept a bit-part role.

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