Michael Carrick said after Manchester United held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge that Ralf Rangnick had no influence on his decision to name Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench.
Rangnick is set to take over at Old Trafford on an interim basis this week, with a consultancy role to follow from June 2022, but Carrick insisted that the German had no say in his team selection against Chelsea. The caretaker opted for a counterpunching approach against the league leaders and he was quick to play down Gary Neville’s suggestion that the idea to leave Ronaldo out came from United’s incoming manager.
“That’s not the case, no,” Carrick said. “We came here with a plan. I kind of knew how Chelsea would play and we wanted to stop the passes through to Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. There were a few changes to freshen it up and it’s what we decided to go with today. We almost pulled it off.”
Carrick, who stepped in as caretaker after Ole Gunnar Solskjær was sacked last week, is unsure whether Rangnick will be in charge when United host Arsenal on Thursday.
“I haven’t got any more news for you,” he said. “I was focused on the game. I’m sure I’ll be updated and we’ll see what happens in the next few days.”
United, who are languishing in eighth place, produced a disciplined display after a difficult week. Carrick was pleased with their effort and he was happy with Jadon Sancho, who gave the visitors the lead after Jorginho failed to deal with a long punt from Bruno Fernandes.
Chelsea rallied when Aaron Wan-Bissaka gave away a penalty with a foul on Thiago Silva – Carrick questioned whether the referee, Anthony Taylor, was right to point to the spot – and Thomas Tuchel praised Jorginho for making up for his mistake by scoring from 12 yards.
“It’s very unusual, a mistake like this, and for us in general to concede a goal like this,” Chelsea’s manager said. “Especially with Jorgi. He misjudged the situation and was heavily disturbed from the lights and did not see the ball in the end. It takes a lot of courage and personality not to be affected in the match and to have the courage to take the penalty for the equaliser.”
Chelsea’s lead over Manchester City is down to one point, but Tuchel was happy with their display. “It’s hard to imagine you can drop points because we were the better team,” the German said. “We’re disappointed, but we have no regrets. I told the team I was happy with the performance.”