Ugly Manchester United go back to basics as Carrick calls for key quality

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LONDON — Manchester United are at that point where going back to basics makes sense.

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With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fired seven days ago and Michael Carrick in as caretaker boss before Ralf Rangnick is expected to come in as interim manager, there is a lot of change at Manchester United right now.

Sometimes it is best to keep things simple.

Carrick told ProSoccerTalk exactly that as he lauded the application of his side and said that organization will be key to getting United back on track.

Organization key to new era

Asked about the midfield trio of Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic who clogged things up and kept Chelsea’s marauding wing backs from cutting inside, Carrick praised the front three and was delighted with the gutsy midfield display.

“I thought the three of them were fantastic,” Carrick said of the midfield. “As I said, it came from the front three. We didn’t want [the midfield] to second guess where the ball is going to go and have extra spaces to cover. We tried to make it as predictable as we could to force them into certain spaces and avenues we could adapt to.

“I thought Nemanja, Fred and Scotty were top drawer today. Scotty at times had to drop into the back line and Hudson-Odoi was pulling into little areas and pulling wide at times and Alonso was inside in off the line. The put five and six across that front line. We needed Scotty at times to drop in and between the three of them they were terrific.”

What next?

United worked hard, kept their shape and were dangerous on the break. They let Chelsea have a lot of the ball but they had a plan. It was ugly but it worked.

That stability and ability to dig in showed this group of players can be organized and grind out results. Carrick has stopped the rot and now it’s down to Rangnick to get on with the tough job of putting a new long-term plan in place.

Michael Carrick is unlikely to be in charge for United’s game at home to Arsenal on Thursday as Rangnick is due to be in charge by then.

But the way he has organized United in just a week suggests he has a clear message he can get across quickly.

That is key for a manager and although Carrick talked down how he feels about being a number one long-term, it is clear the former UEFA Champions League and Premier League winner, with United, feels comfortable in the limelight and wasn’t overawed by the occasion.

Rangnick’s arrival will further build on the solid foundation Carrick has created after Solskjaer’s departure and this is what will be key for United’s future.

They need a clear, organized plan. At times it will be ugly to watch.

But — just like it did at Chelsea — it will get results.