Carrick: The lads showed great character
Michael Carrick attributed United's vital win at Watford to a combination of impressive attacking football and the team's "great character".
The United legend spoke exclusively to MUTV’s Stewart Gardner after the 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road, and opened up on the team’s set-piece work and his fledgling coaching career...
Were you more nervous during the second half than you would have been as a player?
"No, strangely enough not really! We just focused on the game really, and trying to get the right information on and substitutes on. As the game went on, obviously we were up against it and we were defending and Watford caused us a few problems, so we were just trying to get the right information on, really."
It’s never easy after the international break, and it’s never easy coming here. Was it all about the team in the end?
"The lads showed great character. There were a few tired legs out there towards the end. You know what to expect coming here, and they’ve had a great start to the season. They’re a good team. The front two cause you a lot of problems when the ball gets played into them, and they have runners off them and it is difficult to play against. I thought first half we played some good football at times, and created chances and obviously got the goals. Paul’s one would have been a great goal to send us in right at half-time - it was a great save from Ben [Foster]. And then we knew what to expect second half; it wasn’t going to be a relaxing affair. They were going to come at us - they had to. In the end, we saw it through."
Chris Smalling got the winner with a chest trap, swivel and a volley into the roof of the net. With respect, we probably don’t think of Chris scoring that sort of goal, but it was fantastic technique…
"Yeah, it was a great goal from Chris. It’s something we’ve been trying to do, really - score more goals from set plays and create more chances and try and come up with things to do that. So it was nice to see one go in from him today. Normally it’s a header or a right foot, but it was a lovely volley on the left."
We saw the manager celebrating with the coaching staff after that goal. Was that sort of thing - with Fellaini involved - straight from the training ground?
"It’s something that you do. You’re always trying to come up with little things [like] set plays. There’s a lot of work that goes on during the week to try and put it into practice, so especially when it’s a goal - that feeling when a goal goes in is extra special and satisfying, in a way. But there’s plenty of things throughout the game that you see, and you try and take bits from, that have been on the training ground over recent weeks, and that's pleasing to see."
The goalkeeper’s quite good, isn’t he?
"He’s not bad! He’s done it again. That’s why he’s without doubt the best."
Finally, are you enjoying it on the bench?
"Really enjoying it, yeah. Not one day have I thought about playing, so it shows that I’ve not missed playing at all. The manager has been fantastic, and having Kieran [McKenna] next to me, as well as the rest of Jose’s staff from last season, has been a big help. There’s a lot of work to do, of course - it’s a big season ahead - but I’m looking forward to it."