'The support they give the team is incredible'
As the clock ticked towards the 90th minute on Tuesday night, with Manchester United leading Villarreal 1-0, a familiar chant boomed out of the away end at Estadio de la Ceramica.
The song was born during the latter stages of Michael’s distinguished playing career and has been periodically sung during his time as a coach, but this was the first time as caretaker manager.
The volume only increased a moment later when Jadon Sancho executed a powerful finish into the top corner to secure a pivotal 2-0 Champions League victory in Spain, putting United through to the knockout stages with a game to spare. Tellingly, the strike also inspired a massive reaction on the touchline, where every single member of the squad celebrated wildly.
It felt like a big moment.
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Our fans were housed in the upper corner of Villarreal’s small but impressive home, exposed to the cold night, but their support never wavered from start to finish, which Carrick appreciated.
Dressed in his club suit and tie, in a change from his normal tracksuit, the 40-year-old made a point of walking over to them after the final whistle to applaud their undoubted contribution to the win.
“We can hear them,” Carrick told us afterwards.
“We hear them loud and clear every single week whether it's home or away. I've said it for a long time since I came to the club 14 or 15 years ago, it's amazing how much support they give and how much it can energise the players.
“In difficult times, I think that's what sets them apart for me. We've had some difficult times over the years but they're there and they're supporting in the right way.
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Such unrivalled support will be equally as important this weekend when United take on Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.