Michael Carrick came through his first game as Manchester United’s ‘pre-interim’ manager with flying colours on Tuesday and should he mastermind a win at Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday, he might be even earn a longer spell at the helm.
The former midfielder was thrust into the Old Trafford hot seat after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking in the wake of last Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at Watford.
Bizarrely, the club stated that Carrick was holding the fort while they sought an ‘interim manager’ until the end of the season, before a fulltime replacement was hired.
Carrick took everything in his stride and United sealed their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with an impressive 2-0 win away to Spanish club Villarreal.
But Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge represents an altogether tougher challenge.
While United were winning away in Spain, Thomas Tuchel’s side dismantled Juventus 4-0 and they go into the weekend with a three-point lead at the top while United are eighth having lost four of their last five league games.
Chelsea will also be aware that a league win over United is long overdue having failed in their last seven meetings and not scoring in the last four.
Carrick will be without captain and centre back Harry Maguire after his red card at Watford and Raphael Varane is injured, so arranging a rearguard that has conceded 15 goals in five league games, will be Carrick’s puzzle.