Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Manchester United confirms Carrick’s retirement

Leave a comment

Manchester United and Michael Carrick have confirmed that this will be the final season of the midfielder’s distinguished playing career.

The Tyneside-born Carrick, 36, was diagnosed with a heart problem earlier this year and has spent limited time on the field.

[ MORE: West Ham fallout ]

He still hopes to play at some point this season to go out on his “own terms,” but knows he’s reached the end.

“There comes a time when, as much as you like or don’t like it, your body tells you it’s time to stop playing football. That’s pretty much where I’m at, which is fine. It’s something you have to accept. That’s where I’m at.”

Carrick was 25 when he joined United from Spurs, and has an incredible resume to show for it. He’s claimed five Premier League titles, a Champions League crown, a Europa League triumph, three League Cups, and an FA Cup.

He’s expected to join Jose Mourinho’s coaching staff after the season, though Carrick said that’s not entirely confirmed yet.

Report: Man United keen on signing Doucoure

Getty Images
1 Comment

Manchester United is said to be keen on bringing Watford’s French midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure to Old Trafford in the summer.

[ MORE: Best position for Sanchez at United?

Doucoure, 25, is Watford’s top goalscorer with seven goals this season with the box-to-box midfielder impressing mightily throughout the campaign and adored by the Hornets faithful.

United are said to be one of a string of PL clubs keeping a close eye on Doucoure, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham also said to be interested.

Does Jose Mourinho need another combative central midfielder?

He already has Nemanja Matic, who of course is more defensive minded after only scoring his first goal in a United shirt this Monday against Crystal Palace. As for Mourinho’s other central midfield options, Ander Herrera seems to be on the periphery, while Michael Carrick is set to retire and move onto the coaching staff, Marouane Fellaini looks likely to leave when his contract is up in the summer and youngster Scott McTominay is also another option.

But what about Paul Pogba? This link to Doucoure could in fact suggest that United are ready to offload the Frenchman this summer with Mourinho recently leaving Pogba out of his starting lineup amid criticism of his displays and attitude.

Doucoure is very much a Mourinho player with the towering Frenchman six-foot tall. He provides driving runs from central midfield as well as having a fine positional sense. The former Rennes and Granada midfielder is said to be available for around $55 million, which is five times what Watford paid for him to Rennes before loaning him out to Granada.

Watch Live: Manchester United vs. Chelsea

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s a big one, you know: Manchester United hosts Chelsea in a battle for table positioning on Sunday at Old Trafford (Watch live at 9:05 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Scrutinized summer signings Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata start at center forward for their respective sides.

Morata scored the lone goal when Chelsea beat United 1-0 in November.

Jose Mourinho has opted for Scott McTominay over Michael Carrick and Juan Mata in the midfield, while Anthony Martial gets the call over Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.

Chelsea will have Pedro and Olivier Giroud on the bench.

LINEUPS

Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young, McTominay, Matic, Pogba, Alexis, Lukaku, Martial. Subs: Pereira, Bailly, Shaw, Carrick, Mata, Lingard, Rashford.

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Drinkwater, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Zappacosta, Emerson, Fabregas, Pedro, Giroud.

Mourinho explains Pogba substitution: Wanted “simplicity”

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
1 Comment

Jose Mourinho said there were no fitness concerns with Paul Pogba when he hauled the Manchester United midfielder off after 65 minutes of a 1-0 loss to Newcastle United at St. James’ Park.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 1-0 Man Utd ]

Michael Carrick was waiting to come on for Pogba lost his mark and Newcastle scored its goal. Mourinho still made the move.

Here’s Mourinho’s explanation:

“I wanted a better way to come out in the first phase against a team that was defending in a very compact block,” Mourinho said on NBCSN.

“I was trying that with the simplicity of Michael Carrick because he tries to make everything simple and bring Alexis in an area close to Lukaku where he can be like a second striker. I was unlucky because they scored a goal in the seconds after, and then I’m going to face a different Newcastle where in that moment the only thing they think is defend.”

That’s all well and good, but the fact that Mourinho still took Pogba off following the goal shows this was more about a point then, well, a point on the table.

The telling word is simplicity. Pogba is one of the most creative forces in the world, a genuine artist. At times, that’s frustrating for Mourinho, whether deserved consternation or not.

This will play out in the manager’s favor, so Pogba is going to have to find a happy medium. That may sound crazy considering Pogba is one of the world’s best, but United is again a manager’s club under Mourinho.

Newcastle stuns Manchester United

1 Comment
  • Dubravka shines in debut
  • Ritchie scores off set piece
  • Mourinho winless at St. James’ Park

Matt Ritchie‘s second half goal led Newcastle United to a 1-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday at St. James’ Park to ensure their stay in the Premier League’s drop zone was a shade over two hours.

Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka made a number of huge saves as Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial were continually flummoxed by the hosts.

The win boosts Newcastle into 13th place with 28 points, while Manchester United remains second with 56.

Paul Pogba was pulled in the 66th minute after losing his mark on Newcastle’s goal.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Chris Smalling gave away a free kick on the edge of the 18 with a handball, and Kenedy stared down David De Gea before letting Gayle blast one into the wall. De Gea stopped Jonjo Shelvey on the rebound before DeAndre Yedlin ended the chance by shooting over the goal.

A Manchester United giveaway allowed Diame to cue up Ayoze Perez for a half-chance that zipped wide of the goal.

The Red Devils settled into possession but couldn’t find the target, with Newcastle backstop Martin Dubravka making a few handy plays on debut. At the other end, Kenedy his a hard shot right at De Gea.

Moments after Dwight Gayle held up a potentially strong Newcastle break, Anthony Martial nearly made them pay but for a Dubravka save.

Lukaku crossed for Martial, who got in front of Paul Dummett but drove his header wide.

Chris Smalling chopped down Gayle at the corner of the 18, but no penalty call came for the English striker.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The second half saw Matt Ritchie’s penalty shout denied by the offside flag, and United started to assert control soon after through a Lukaku goal pulled back for a foul and an Alexis Sanchez penalty shout that ended with his shooting into the side netting.

Sanchez then flubbed a chance to make it 1-0 with an extra touch after dancing past Dubravka. The superfluous move allowed Florian Lejeune to slide in front of him and block the shot.

Newcastle won a free kick when Smalling dove inside his own half, and Shelvey’s free kick was headed into Ritchie’s path by

Jose Mourinho pulled Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard for Michael Carrick and Juan Mata after the goal, and the Red Devils were back at it. Dubravka stopped an Ashley Young rip in the 68th minute.

Newcastle showed steel as the Red Devils kept attacking, with Martial seeing two shots from the top of the six blocked by Gayle and Yedlin.