Denis Irwin

Irwin on Solskjaer, Carrick and Villarreal

Tuesday 23 November 2021 13:00

Manchester United ambassador Denis Irwin has paid tribute to the way Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handled his departure and backed Michael Carrick to lead the team as caretaker manager.

The Reds are currently in Spain preparing for an important Champions League match against Villarreal and with a place in the competition’s knockout stages up for grabs. 

Irwin will be in attendance at Estadio de la Ceramica and, ahead of the 17:45 GMT kick-off, we spoke to the legendary defender to get his take on a huge period for our club. 

The weekend was obviously eventful for the club and for Ole. With the way that he handled the news and the emotional interview that he gave, what do you think that says about him as a character and a United man?
“Well, he loves the club, he is a fantastic person and we all know that. As an ex-player and having played with him for many years, I know exactly what kind of character he is and he gave absolutely everything. Unfortunately, in the end, it didn’t work out but he can go with his head held high. He came into the job, it was a bit fractious at the time, and he pulled everyone together and he deserves a break now. I wish him all the very best for the future and he will always have an eye out for United, there is no doubt about that.”
Carrick: I fully believe in the players Video

Carrick: I fully believe in the players

Michael Carrick tells us he's determined the Reds will get the job done at Villarreal...

Michael Carrick is now in as our interim manager: do you think he’s a good character for that role? He’s a very experienced, composed and knowledgeable figure… 
“Yeah, he is very level-headed and we have got big games this week. These are big, big games. He knows what Manchester United is all about because he is an ex-player and he has got good experience, from being a first-team coach for the last two to three years. So it is a big job for him, there is no doubt about that, but I think he is the kind of character who can handle that.”

Michael’s first task is an important game against Villarreal in the Champions League with qualification at stake. How do you see this match on Tuesday night?
“Well, they are a good side, they are mid-table in the Spanish league and that is a surprise to me because they came to Old Trafford and played very, very well. They will have gone away feeling disappointed that they lost that game. We have got to make sure that we don’t lose this game and if we don’t, that means we are going into playing at home on matchday six knowing a victory against Young Boys would put us through to the round of 16. But, listen, we can win on Tuesday as well. It will be difficult, they are a good footballing side, even though they have drawn a lot of games this season. As I said, we need a result.”
We know Villarreal well, of course. What are your impressions of them?
“It’s a lovely little club, they have done extremely well in recent years and very few people had heard of them 20 years ago. The ground is small and tidy, they do very, very well, it’s just outside of Valencia, and it will be a really difficult job for us because they are a good footballing side. We have first-hand knowledge of them, getting beaten by them in the Europa League final last season and then beating them at Old Trafford recently. So there is no hidden agenda here because we have played against them. We have got to be up for it, we have got to be aggressive, hungry and make sure that we try to get a result from the game.”
Maguire: We need to produce a performance Video

Maguire: We need to produce a performance

United skipper Harry Maguire calls for his team-mates to push each other against Villarreal...

What kind of atmosphere do you expect on Tuesday night?
“It will be a good atmosphere. I hope our fans are singing at the end of the game very, very loudly after we've got a win under our belts and gone through. I am looking forward to it. It's a big European night and this is what it's all about, we want to be at the table with the big boys in the knockout stages. This is a very important game for us and there is a lot of pressure on the lads, there is no doubt about that, there always is when you play for Manchester United anyway, but the spotlight is on after what happened at the weekend. Let's hope we regroup, go hard and make sure we get a result.”