Michael Carrick backs Jose Mourinho to fix Manchester United's midfield

Central midfield has become a significant issue for Mourinho, with Paul Pogba struggling for consistency and Marouane Fellaini out of contract next month

Mike Whalley
Monday 14 May 2018 12:54 BST
Premier League final day round up 2018

Michael Carrick is confident that Jose Mourinho will solve the growing midfield problems that Manchester United face this summer.

Carrick, 36, has brought his playing career to an end after 12 years at Old Trafford, joining the club’s coaching staff after making his final appearance as Watford were beaten 1-0 on Sunday.

He gave a reminder of the ability that United will miss, providing a superb 50-yard pass that sent Juan Mata away to set up Marcus Rashford for the game’s only goal.

Central midfield has become a significant issue for Mourinho, with Paul Pogba struggling for consistency and Marouane Fellaini out of contract next month.

The United manager is looking at a number of options, and although interest in buying Jorginho from Napoli appears to have faded, he is considering a list of targets that includes Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred, Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Paris St-Germain’s Marco Verratti, Nice’s Jean-Michael Seri and Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal.

Finding a like-for-like replacement for Carrick may well prove beyond Mourinho, as it was a challenge that defeated Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes and Louis van Gaal when they managed United.

However, Carrick is sure that United will find a solution, even if it involves a degree of compromise – pointing out that they had to find a work-around after Roy Keane’s departure in 2005, the year before the former England midfielder arrived from Tottenham.

He said: “I don’t like the word ‘replace’ because you’ve got to evolve as a team. We’ve lost big players in the past – huge players, bigger than me – and the club has moved on and still been successful. I’m sure that will be the case again.

“I had the issue when I signed and it was all about Roy Keane, but I was never going to replace Roy Keane because it’s not how I am. You’ve just got to evolve and find a way.

“There will be other players. There will be players here who will improve and progress and if anyone gets brought in, whoever gets brought in, the club will move on.”

Carrick enjoyed an emotional farewell on Sunday

Carrick is happy to offer advice if Mourinho wants it, but says the final decision on any midfield signings will lie with the manager.

“I’m there to give my opinion, but I don’t have the final say at all,” he said. “When he wants my opinion, I’m there to give it.”

Carrick joins the coaching staff with Rui Faria leaving – as Mourinho’s assistant has decided to quit after the cup final.

Faria will leave United after the FA Cup final

The former West Ham midfielder insists he is not a direct replacement for Faria.

He said: “It’s nothing to do with my situation. Mine was sorted months ago. My role is going to evolve. It’s about getting used to it. Being here over time, over the next season, you will see what works and how we work best. It’s about what works best.

“I’ve obviously done a bit of coaching but it’s with the younger age groups. I’ve done video work with some of the boys already. It’s just a case of getting the balance, really.”

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