Michael Carrick opted for a disciplined, cagey gameplan in Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Sunday.
United have been dominated by Liverpool and Manchester City in recent weeks, games in which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made his side too easy to play against.
Carrick had a gameplan which resembled a Jose Mourinho team as much as anything, but United got a draw at the home of the Premier League leaders.
Former Chelsea player turned BBC pundit Pat Nevin had some choice words for Carrick’s tactics in his column for the Blues’ official website.
“It was infuriating not to get the three points against United at the end,” he wrote. “I refused to be downcast because there were so many positives on the day.
“Firstly, we dominated United and they were resigned to playing only on the break, which when they got lucky after Jorginho’s mis-control looked like a pretty good, if stunningly negative tactic.
“The ‘pass’ that led to their goal would have looked more at home at Twickenham than a top football ground but it worked.”
There is clear bitterness in Nevin’s comments that Chelsea were not able to roll United over. As he said himself, the tactics worked in terms of getting the job done.
It is not how United fans will want to see their side playing long-term, but it is preferable to the results and performances in many other big games this season.
Carrick only had a short space of time to work with the players during a tumultuous week and got a respectable result at a very tough place to go.
The fact that a high-profile Chelsea man such as Nevin feels the need to take aim at them suggests they were pretty effective.
And now United are preparing to embark on a new era under Ralf Rangnick, and Carrick should learn plenty from working alongside the experienced German.
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