Michael Carrick reiterated his focus is purely on Manchester United’s clash with Premier League leaders Chelsea amid speculation Ralf Rangnick is set to take over as manager on a short-term contract.
Rangnick is widely anticipated to be appointed on a six-month deal following the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign last week, with a potential longer stay at Old Trafford in role a behind the scenes.
The German, who is head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow, will not be in charge in time for Sunday’s visit to Stamford Bridge.
United head into that fixture 12 points behind the leaders and six points adrift of the top four, and temporary boss Carrick is solely concentrated on narrowing those gaps rather than talk of what change may come to the club after the game.
“Speculation and reports are just that,” Carrick told a media conference.
“My head is just on the game. My pure focus is on preparing the team as best as I can.
“My pure focus is on preparing the team as best as I can,” says Michael.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 26, 2021
“It’s a huge responsibility that I have at the moment and I’ve given it everything. Anything after Sunday is not in my thoughts at the moment.”
Solskjaer oversaw a run of two wins in eight games in all competitions before leaving the club, that streak featuring humbling defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City and capped off by a dismal 4-1 loss at Watford.
Yet Carrick believes the Norwegian has laid good foundations for whoever takes the reins.
“One of the biggest things during Ole’s time here was the stuff people don’t see day-to-day,” he added. “We were improving, finished well last season. Everything else can get overshadowed, but it is all still there.
“Whatever happens next it is a great starting point.”
Carrick restored the winning feeling at United with a 2-0 Champions League victory at Villarreal in midweek.
And he believes United can up the feel-good factor by upsetting the odds against Chelsea.
Asked what stands out about Thomas Tuchel’s Blues, Carrick replied: “Hugely impressed by how they go about things.
“Super intense, well organised, really good movement across our backline and their frontline.
“Very good at connecting with the midfield, with the back three building up and connecting into midfield, narrowing up and giving you problems with the wing-backs.
“We have to get a result and I believe we can.”