Ralf Rangnick praised Cristiano Ronaldo, dismissed a theory he could cash in on any deal for Erling Haaland, and threw in the odd curveball during his first news conference as Manchester United interim manager.

It was a lively start in the job for Rangnick, who takes charge of United for the first time when they face Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.

He faced questions from journalists for half an hour, giving media and fans an insight into what sort of a manager he may prove to be.

Here is a look at what the 63-year-old had to say on a wide range of topics:

THURSDAY'S ROLLER COASTER 3-2 WIN OVER ARSENAL

"You could see the potential that is in the team, but we have to do that more sustainably, to transfer the game away from our own box more into this area where we have our assets and our weapons in the team."

RONALDO BEING A KEY MAN IN HIS PLANS

"Having seen Cristiano yesterday in the second half, at the age of 36 he is an amazing, top professional. At his age, I've never seen a player who is still that physically fit. He's still a player who can easily make the difference. We play in the most competitive league in the world, so we need all the players on board. What I saw from Cristiano yesterday, he's more than willing to do that, to put his input into the team. The other team-mates will have to do the same."

FINDING THE RIGHT BLEND OF BRAIN AND BRAWN

"Of course it's train the brain. Modern football in the last 10 years has completely changed into a more physical, more athletic, more vertical, more high-speed ball game. If you watch games in early 2000s and compare it with now, you wouldn't believe it's the same ball game. It's completely changed, and in order to develop teams you need to not only train the bodies but also the brains."

LINKS TO ERLING HAALAND, AND RUMOURS OF A BONUS IF HE SIGNS THE DORTMUND STAR

"This is nonsense, obviously. Of course, there are no such clauses in my contract. It doesn't make sense now to have speculation about possible new players. Erling Haaland is a fantastic striker. I know it best myself because I was together with the people at Salzburg at the time [that Haaland played there] and I was also a little bit involved in the move from Molde to Salzburg, therefore I know what kind of player he is. In the meantime, the whole world has realised how good the player is. We have so many top players in the offensive department that we don't need to speak about any other players."

HIS LONG-RUNNING LOVE AFFAIR WITH ENGLISH FOOTBALL

"I studied English at university to become an English and PE teacher back in the late 70s, early 80s. I also lived in Brighton with a host family and at this time I fell in love with English football. In the early 80s I took the fast train from Brighton to Victoria Station and I watched every three days a home game in the old Highbury, in the old White Hart Lane or even in Liverpool – I went to Goodison Park. Since then, I have always very much cherished the way teams are supported and even yesterday, I think this is absolutely unique. You will find very, very few football clubs in the world with that much support. This is for me football in the purest sense, as it was in those times. It's more than exciting to now be part of that atmosphere."

HOW UNITED CAN PROGRESS UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP

"I think to gain control of games in the future it's got to do with playing proactively. You have to just make sure you have the biggest chance to win the next game, then step by step let the players participate, they have to go together with me. They have to follow not only my instructions, but they have to buy into the idea I can offer them how we should want to play in the future. This is what it's all about and it has to happen step by step."

HOW TO COMPETE WITH CHELSEA, MANCHESTER CITY AND LIVERPOOL

"If you look at the top three teams, they seem to be very stable and they have top coaches. If you see how they play and keep winning in style, controlling games, this is something that we have to develop. When, for example, Jurgen [Klopp] came to Liverpool and the squad he inherited at the time, I'm sure it was definitely not a better squad than the one I inherit now at Manchester United."

SLOWING DOWN UNITED'S TURNOVER OF MANAGERS

"There have been changes in management, about five or six managers since Sir Alex [Ferguson] left [in 2013], so it was difficult for the club to gain continuity with regard to signing new players, developing and sticking to the DNA of the club, and I think this is vital in modern football that you do that. For me, it's not that unusual that there were so many changes. For the future, and I think we have the same opinion, the board members and myself, it's important that this is developed in the future, that there will be not that many changes in management."

COULD THE INTERIM BECOME PERMANENT?

"We have never spoken about what might happen in the summer. Right now, I'm fully aware that they might be looking for a new manager. If they will then speak with me about that, we will see. Maybe if they ask me my opinion and everything goes well and we develop the team, I might even make the same recommendation to the board that I did at Leipzig twice, when I recommended to them that it might be a good idea to keep working with me [as coach] for one year, but this is all hypothetical."

Ralf Rangnick has hinted he would consider staying in charge of Manchester United beyond the end of the season.

The new interim boss has been appointed to guide United through the remainder of this campaign after the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

He gave a first news conference as United boss on Friday morning and began to lay out a manifesto, while speaking of a long-held love affair with English football.

The 63-year-old accepts it will be difficult to make immediate changes because he is joining close to the halfway point in a season, and time on the training pitch between games is limited.

But the former RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim head coach feels he can make a difference at Old Trafford, and he is not ruling out the possibility of staying on for longer than is currently planned.

"The people with whom I've spoken so far, they have been very clear that we're talking about a six-and-a-half-month role as a manager currently," Rangnick said

"We have never spoken about what might happen in the summer. Right now I'm fully aware that they might be looking for a new manager.

"If they will then speak with me about that, we will see. Maybe if they ask me my opinion and everything goes well and we develop the team, I might even make the same recommendation to the board that I did at Leipzig twice, when I recommended to them that it might be a good idea to keep working with me for one year, but this is all hypothetical.

"For me now it's about winning the next games, and this is the major focus."

Rangnick was director of football at Leipzig when he put his name forward to be coach, meaning he already carried significant clout regarding such appointments.

He does not come into United with the same level of influence, and it came as a surprise when Rangnick indicated the two-year advisory role he will assume at the season's end is far from a defined position.

Asked what the position would entail, and whether he might have an influence on the club's academy, Rangnick said: "We haven't spoken about that in detail in all the conversations we have had."

Rangnick has been seen as a world-class strategist, a figure that many believe United have been crying out for given how many other clubs have such experienced figures in place.

Such discussions seem likely to occur once he has his feet under the desk, with Rangnick getting straight down to work on Friday by beginning preparations for Sunday's home game with Crystal Palace.

There have already been talks between Rangnick and co-owner Joel Glazer, and the manager revealed he has spoken to Solskjaer too.

"I spoke with Ole last Sunday before the game against Chelsea," Rangnick said.

"He was very generous to spend one and a half hours on the phone with me telling me all his inside details about the team."

Rangnick will wait for the talks about his future and United's plans to take place at a convenient time.

He has spoken to director of football John Murtough, but United are in no rush to pin down plans for the future while there is so much to focus on in the present.

"With all those people we haven't spoken about what will happen in the next two years, from next summer until summer 2024," Rangnick said. "We only spoke about the current situation and how we can find a way to work together."

He wanted Michael Carrick to stay on, but the caretaker manager walked away from United after Thursday's 3-2 win over Arsenal.

"With Michael, I got to know this two days ago," Rangnick said. "I had a long private conversation with him for more than an hour.

"I was trying to convince him to stay on board, but he'd obviously taken the decision weeks ago that he needed a break and a rest after 30 years in professional football. In the end I had to accept that, and I can also understand his decision."

Rangnick said he may bring in up to three new members of staff, possibly before the end of December. But he dampened expectation of possible transfer window arrivals, saying: "We haven't spoken about new players. Now is the time to get to know the current squad in detail.

"The squad is definitely not too small. Maybe at Christmas, after Christmas, there will be a time to speak about possible transfers in the winter.

"From my experience winter is not the best time for sustainable transfers. With this quality of players we have here, it would in theory only make sense if you really get players who can almost guarantee you more quality and this will be difficult in the winter."

Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes both refused to dwell on Manchester United's come-from-behind win against Arsenal as the Red Devils look ahead to life under interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

With Rangnick watching in the stands, Ronaldo scored twice to lead United past Premier League rivals Arsenal 3-2 on Thursday before caretaker boss Michael Carrick announced his departure from Old Trafford.

Carrick – who was placed in temporary charge after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking, overseeing wins against Villarreal and Arsenal, and a draw at Chelsea – revealed he would not be staying on and serving as a coach under Rangnick.

After helping to snap United's three-game drought in the Premier League, superstar Ronaldo quickly switched focus as Rangnick prepares to see the embattled giants through until the end of the season.

Ronaldo, who scored the 800th and 801st goals of his illustrious career, wrote via his social media pages: "Our minds are already set on the next game, there's no time to celebrate!

"Today's win was very important to get back on track, but there's still a long road to go until we reach our destination… Congrats to all my team-mates, great spirit tonight."

United – seventh in the standings and 12 points behind leaders Chelsea – scored three goals in a home Premier League game against Arsenal for the first time since February 2016, with Carrick completing all 90 minutes that day.

The Red Devils were forced to come from behind following Emile Smith Rowe's 13th-minute opener – Fernandes restoring parity a minute before half-time.

Fernandes made his 100th competitive appearance for United. Since his club debut in 2020, he has been directly involved in more goals in all competitions than any other player for Premier League sides (79 - 45 goals, 34 assists).

Ronaldo put United ahead seven minutes into the second half, only for Martin Odegaard to equalise two minutes later, though the Portuguese superstar sealed United's victory via a 70th-minute penalty.

"Every win is important for us at this moment," Portuguese star Fernandes told Amazon Prime post-match.

"We know that we have been through a lot of ups and downs, and it has been hard for us to come out of that.

"Today we got a great win, but we cannot stop here and be satisfied because we beat Arsenal. The next game is coming quick, so we have to put our heads on that straight away and be ready for that one."

On countryman and team-mate Ronaldo, Fernandes added: "What can you say about that? It's incredible.

"He's proving game by game, year by year, season by season, that he wants to keep being the best, he wants to be the best and that's what he did.

"He doesn't need anyone to motivate him, he knows how to do it and how to carry on scoring goals."

Before players were told of Carrick's decision to step down, Fernandes hailed the former United midfielder.

Carrick, winner of five Premier League titles and a Champions League crown among other honours during his 12 years as a player in Manchester, made 464 appearances for United between 2006 and 2018 before stepping into coaching.

"Michael can be a really good manager in the future if he gets the chance," said Fernandes. "He knows how to speak, he knows a lot about football.

"He was one of those great players that not a lot of people talk about but from what I know and what I have seen, he can be a top coach."

Outgoing Manchester United caretaker manager Michael Carrick said Cristiano Ronaldo's 800th and 801st career goals were the "perfect' ending to his time at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo's memorable brace guided United past rivals Arsenal 3-2 in the Premier League on Thursday before Carrick confirmed his departure.

Carrick – who was placed in temporary charge after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking, overseeing wins against Villarreal and Arsenal, and a draw at Chelsea – announced he would not be staying on and serving as a coach under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

Former United midfielder Carrick, winner of five Premier League titles and a Champions League crown among other honours during his 12 years as a player in Manchester, hailed Ronaldo's performance.

"He's not younger," Carrick told reporters post-game. "As we all were. And to see kind of how he has gone full cycle and come to us not quite at the end of his career obviously, but coming towards the later stages. 

"I think just seeing how he goes about his business, his mentality, his attitude, and obviously his quality. I mean, to score so many goals, it's incredible.

"He's been terrific this week. Especially for me. The things I have asked of him, and the way he has gone about his business with the other players is top, top, drawer.

"So no surprise that he goes and scores tonight. The perfect ending really."

United scored three goals in a home Premier League game against Arsenal for the first time since February 2016, with Carrick completing all 90 minutes that day.

The Red Devils were forced to come from behind following Emile Smith Rowe's 13th-minute opener – Bruno Fernandes restoring parity a minute before half-time.

Fernandes made his 100th competitive appearance for United. Since his club debut in 2020, he has been directly involved in more goals in all competitions than any other player for Premier League sides (79 - 45 goals, 34 assists).

Ronaldo put United ahead seven minutes into the second half, only for Martin Odegaard to equalise two minutes later, though the Portuguese superstar sealed United's victory via a 70th-minute penalty.

Reflecting on his decision to walk away, Carrick – who made 464 appearances for United between 2006 and 2018 before stepping into coaching – added: "You have got to go all in. Since I walked through the doors here. It's pure dedication, and the club takes over your life.

"There's no getting away from your head anymore. It's everywhere. For the good and the bad. But that's... you take that. Being here the highs and lows are extreme. I've had a bit of both. A period of both.

"The players have obviously done the same now in recent times. I have to say I have enjoyed it, I have enjoyed it, what's next I don't know. But, I have to say, I have enjoyed it as the weeks gone on."

Michael Carrick has decided to leave Manchester United following the conclusion of his spell as caretaker manager, the club have confirmed. 

Former United midfielder Carrick was placed in temporary charge after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was relieved of his duties following a humiliating 4-1 loss to Watford. 

He oversaw a 2-0 win at Villarreal that sent United into the Champions League knockouts and a 1-1 draw with Premier League leaders Chelsea, before Ralf Rangnick was confirmed as the new interim boss on Monday. 

Rangnick, who was waiting on visa clearance to take charge of the team, watched from the stands as Carrick steered United to a 3-2 win over Arsenal at Old Trafford on Thursday.

The club released a statement shortly after the final whistle to announce that he would not stay on and serve as a coach under Rangnick. 

Carrick said: "My time at this great club will always rank as the best years of my career. When I first signed over 15 years ago, I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined winning so many trophies and I will certainly never forget the fantastic memories both as a player and as a member of the coaching team. 

"However, after a lot of thought and deliberation, I have decided that now is the right time for me to leave the club. I want to place on record my thanks to all of the players and a special mention goes to the backroom staff, working long hours with such a great group of people has been a real pleasure and I have made some long-lasting friendships. 

"I am, and will always be, a Manchester United fan and will come to as many matches as possible. I would like to wish Ralf, the staff, the players and the fans all the best for the future and I look forward to being in the stands and supporting the boys as a fan." 

Carrick made 464 appearances for United between 2006 and 2018, with five Premier League successes and Champions League glory among the 11 titles he won with the club.  

He joined the first-team coaching staff after his retirement and worked under Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer. 

Carrick added to Amazon Prime: "It's not been an easy [decision] to make but I feel it's the right one. I meant to take some time off after I finished playing, I promised the family we'd have some time together and it never happened! 

"It's just the right time. It's 100 per cent my decision. I wanted to make the decision before I spoke to him [Rangnick]. There was a responsibility on me to see these three games through. 

"I owe Ole an awful lot. There's a lot of things that came into my decision. I just said to the players and staff, the way we worked together, there are good, good people in there. Sometimes you get what you deserve, and sometimes you don't. 

"I'm proud of the players over the last three games. In some ways, this was the perfect night. They [the players] were a bit shocked, surprised, a little bit emotional in the changing room. I just about kept it together! It's not been easy to keep it away from people in the last few days, but I was desperate to win the game tonight. 

"Hopefully, we can build on this. We've had to dig deep this week and show a side to us that people have maybe questioned in recent times. There's a hell of a group of players in there. I really believe there's a successful team in there – whether it's this season or next season." 

Asked about managing a club in the future, Carrick replied: "I can honestly say I've given it literally no thought. I've been so wrapped up in this week and getting through tonight." 

Ralf Rangnick will take charge of his first match as Manchester United's interim manager against Crystal Palace on Sunday after his work visa was approved.

United announced on Monday that an agreement had been reached with Rangnick over a relationship that is set to span two and a half years.

Initially, Rangnick will take charge until the end of the season before moving into a consultancy role, suggesting significant changes to the club's football operations could be on the horizon given the German's background and reputation.

The 63-year-old's start at the club was delayed due to work permit issues – according to reports, Rangnick did not meet the criteria for an automatic visa because he has only coached one season out of the past five.

But United confirmed his paperwork was approved on Thursday and he will address the media the following day.

A widely reported statement read: "As all paperwork has now been completed, we will hold an in-person press conference with Ralf Rangnick at Old Trafford at 9am [Friday] morning."

United will still be working under the guidance of caretaker manager Michael Carrick for Thursday's visit of Arsenal, but Rangnick is expected to be at Old Trafford having been in the country for the past few days.

Rangnick will take charge of his first game on Sunday when Palace make the trip north.

Manchester United caretaker manager Michael Carrick still has not spoken to Ralf Rangnick about the team despite the German's appointment as interim boss being confirmed on Monday.

United announced at the start of the week that an agreement had been reached with Rangnick over a relationship that is set to span two and a half years.

Initially, Rangnick will take charge until the end of the season before moving into a consultancy role.

Rangnick has previously shaped German clubs such as Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig from top to bottom, with his future advisory position at Old Trafford suggesting United are planning an overhaul of their football operations, which have long appeared outdated compared to their rivals.

But the 63-year-old's start at the club has been delayed due to work permit issues – according to reports, Rangnick does not been the criteria for an automatic visa because he has only coached one season out of the past five.

While United are not thought to be concerned about the outcome, the situation is hardly helpful to the playing and coaching staff who are awaiting Rangnick's arrival.

It was suggested at the weekend that United's apparent greater pressing intensity in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea may have been influenced by Rangnick – Carrick denied that was the case at the time, and ahead of Thursday's visit of Arsenal, the caretaker manager claimed they have still not spoken to each other.

"It's pretty much as it was because of the process and work permit, we've not been able to [talk to each other]," Carrick told reporters on Wednesday.

"We've carried on as we have done. It's worked well for last two games and hopefully it does tomorrow.

"Literally, I've nothing to update you on other than the process of the visa is ongoing and going through now, so I'm in this position as I was for Chelsea and Villarreal, getting the boys ready for the game."

Carrick caused something of a stir by leaving Cristiano Ronaldo out of his starting XI at Stamford Bridge, instead opting to use him from the bench.

Despite it appearing a shock from the outside, Carrick insists it was not considered a big deal in the United dressing room.

"Those decisions get blown up a lot bigger than they are in the club," he continued. "Decisions are made for a lot of different reasons.

"Of course, some things are bigger news than others, that's how it is. I didn't see it a major decision; it certainly wasn't in the group.

"We got on with it, the game went well to an extent and it wasn't a drama at all."

Carrick's two games in charge have resulted in a 2-0 win at Villarreal in the Champions League and the stalemate against Premier League leaders Chelsea.

One player whose performances have caught the eye in those games is Fred, the much-maligned Brazilian midfielder who had frequently appeared out of his depth under Solskjaer.

Across the past two games, Fred has at least seven more recoveries (19) than any other United player, he ranks highest for possession won in each third of the pitch and his six interceptions is double that of any of his team-mates – suffice to say, Carrick has been impressed.

He said: "I think it gets overlooked – first choice for Brazil in a good Brazil team shows how far Fred's come since he came to the club, and how much he's improved.

"I really like him. One of the biggest things is his attitude and desire to be a key player, desperate to put himself out there and play games.

"He twisted his ankle against Villarreal in the first half and it would've been enough to force other players off – to carry on when it's swollen and sore is hard but he carried on then bounced into the game and there was no way he was going to miss the next game.

"That mentality is infectious. I think he's improved an awful lot, Fred. He brings a great energy to the team and he's improving.

"He's played a little higher up the pitch than before because we tweaked a couple of things for both games and he's done ever so well.

"The regains, and especially for Cristiano's goal against Villarreal, epitomises that and he almost did it when he intercepted from [Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard] Mendy. He brings an awful lot to the team and I like him an awful lot."

Manchester United will again be led by caretaker boss Michael Carrick in Thursday's game against Arsenal as the club wait for Ralf Rangnick to receive a work visa.

It means Carrick will be in charge for a third successive game, having already led the team to a 2-0 win at Villarreal in the Champions League and a 1-1 draw away to Premier League leaders Chelsea.

United's hopes of upgrading from caretaker Carrick to interim boss Rangnick in time for the Old Trafford clash with the Gunners have been hit by red tape.

As the team went through their preparations for the game at the Carrington training base, Carrick told United's players he would be giving out the orders once more.

In a statement on their official website, United said: "Ralf Rangnick was announced as interim manager on Monday but, while the club follows the regulatory process around a work visa, Carrick will continue at the helm.

"Michael has communicated this to players and staff at Carrington in a busy week for the club."

United announced on Monday an agreement had been reached with Rangnick over a relationship that is set to span two and a half years.

Initially, Rangnick will take charge until the end of the season before moving into a consultancy role.

Rangnick has previously shaped German clubs such as Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig from top to bottom, with his future advisory position at Old Trafford suggesting United are planning an overhaul of their football operations, which have long appeared outdated compared to their rivals.

He has been working most recently at Lokomotiv Moscow, but the 63-year-old is now set to step into the highest-profile position of his career.

Carrick has been at the helm since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's dismissal on November 21, which followed a dismal run of form that saw United lose five of seven Premier League games.

They sit eighth in the table, five points behind fifth-placed Arsenal, having won just five of 13 domestic league games this season and with a goal difference of minus one.

United are at home again on Sunday when they host Crystal Palace, seemingly a more realistic target for Rangnick's first game.

Michael Carrick led Manchester United to a good point at Chelsea as he waited to learn whether that would be his first and last Premier League match as Red Devils manager.

Jadon Sancho's opener against the run of play was cancelled out by Jorginho's penalty at Stamford Bridge, where caretaker boss Carrick named Cristiano Ronaldo as a substitute.

United have a home match against Arsenal coming up on Thursday and that might be Ralf Rangnick's first game at the helm.

Rangnick, currently working at Lokomotiv Moscow, is the man that United are targeting to lead them through until the end of the season, which is when they intend to make a more permanent appointment.

The sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last Sunday followed a run of five defeats in seven Premier League games, fatally rupturing hopes of a title challenge.

Speaking after the 1-1 draw with Chelsea, Carrick told a news conference he was unsure what would lie ahead for him.

"As of now, I haven't got any more news for you really. I was purely focused on the game. There was enough in my head to prepare the boys for this," he said.

"After the game, I'm sure I'll be updated and aware, and see what happens the next few days, but as of now I haven't got anything more to give you."

Carrick told television interviewers there was no truth behind the theory his team selection was influenced by Rangnick.

United harried Chelsea with more gusto than they have other teams of late, and got away from west London with a point despite coming under plenty of pressure.

Chelsea led the shot count 24-3, had 66 per cent of possession, and the expected goals (xG) count told its own story. Based on the quality of chances each team had, Chelsea had an xG total of 2.54 and United managed 0.82, suggesting this was a missed opportunity for the hosts to inflict another defeat on their visitors.

The decision to start with Ronaldo on the bench, rather than in his usual role as the focal point of the attack, was a move by Carrick that caught the eye.

"Obviously, we came here with a plan," said Carrick, a long-serving former United midfielder.

"I kind of knew how Chelsea were going to be playing. A lot of it was stopping the little passing moves they thread through to Jorginho and [Ruben] Loftus-Cheek through the middle of the pitch.

"We were conscious of that. [We brought] a little freshness to the team, two or three changes and a couple of little tweaks and changes in tactics."

Roy Keane could not understand Michael Carrick's praise for his Manchester United players after a 1-1 draw at Chelsea on Sunday.

United battled to a point away at the Premier League leaders, following up a 2-0 win at Villarreal in Carrick's first game as interim manager.

The former midfielder is set to be replaced by Ralf Rangnick – another interim appointment – but was encouraged by their display, even as they attempted just three shots. United last had as few as three attempts against Manchester City in April 2017.

There was certainly a shift in United's approach from their previous league game at Watford, the 4-1 defeat that spelled the end for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeing only three high turnovers in an extremely passive performance.

Starting on the path to the more aggressive set-up Rangnick is likely to employ, United had a season-high 14 high turnovers at Stamford Bridge.

But ex-United captain Keane was irked by the change under Carrick, who previously formed part of Solskjaer's staff.

Following a Sky Sports interview in which Carrick took issue with the penalty awarded against Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the pundit was asked for his opinion.

"I disagree with everything he said in that interview," Keane said. "Everything he said – he's talking about a plan, he's talking about the penalty.

"Of course it was a penalty. We've all looked at it, it's a penalty.

"He's talking about the players' efforts, he's proud of them... He's been working with the players for the last few months. He was working alongside Ole, he was in the dugout with Ole, and now all of a sudden he's proud of them this week and they had a plan?

"What about all the other games they had? Why aren't they making effort in the other games? Why aren't they closing down people in the other games?

"He's talking about the high press – we've seen all the stats before the match, and they're the worst in the league at closing people down, winning the ball back.

"He's praising players, praising players for doing their jobs. He mentioned the three midfielders... It's ridiculous.

"He was sitting in the dugout for the last few months with Ole, the last few years – he was sitting with Mourinho, as well. Now, all of a sudden, he's proud of the players this week? He's working with the same players."

Manchester United caretaker manager Michael Carrick insisted his team's set-up in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Chelsea was not influenced by Ralf Rangnick, the man expected to be appointed until the end of the season.

Carrick was put in charge after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking last weekend and has overseen a win and a draw in his two matches at the helm.

The tussle with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge came amid reports suggesting United have agreed a deal to appoint Rangnick as interim manager until the end of the season, at which point he will move into a consultancy role.

Rangnick has a fine reputation both as a coach and director, with the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel considering him an inspiration, while he helped transform German clubs Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig.

While no announcement has been made yet by United, it was widely speculated that Rangnick's famed style of play – based on aggressive pressing and attacking – was being looked to by Carrick at Stamford Bridge.

Cristiano Ronaldo, criticised in some quarters for his off-the-ball work ethic, was dropped to the bench and United appeared to press with much greater purpose than they generally did under Solskjaer, though Carrick seemed to suggest it was a mere coincidence rather than a plan hatched by Rangnick.

Asked by BBC Sport if Rangnick had influenced their set-up, Carrick said: "No, that's not the case."

Instead, the approach was based on an acceptance that United would have to graft for any form of positive result.

"To come away disappointed and to feel like you have left something out there is a positive," Carrick said. "That intent and that hunger summed us up today. We knew it wasn't going to be free-flowing football at times, but we were prepared to dig in."

United took the lead early in the second half with one of just three shots they had over the match – Jadon Sancho seized on a Jorginho error before beating Edouard Mendy, though the Italy midfielder later made amends from the penalty spot.

"I don't think it was a penalty at all," Carrick said. "They have had a lot of shots, David [De Gea] had [some] saves, which we knew before the game he would have to make one or two.

"Other than that, I have felt quite comfortable in the game. Of course, we want to be better. I'm not getting carried away, but I thought we defended well. I cannot fault the boys one bit."

While Carrick might have felt Chelsea did not offer much, expected goals (xG) data suggests the Blues would have been worthy winners, creating chances worth 2.54 xG to United's 0.82.

This was not lost on De Gea, who made four of his five saves in the first half, though the in-form Spanish goalkeeper considered the bigger picture.

"On the pitch, in the goal, I was feeling danger for nearly the whole game," De Gea told Sky Sports. "We defended well, they missed big chances as well, and then once they gave us a chance and we score.

"It is not enough to draw but, at the moment, with the way we are, it is a big point. The last games before, we were conceding three or four goals.

"Now we concede one from a penalty, and a clean sheet against Villarreal. We are improving, but this is just two games. We need to show it in the games that are coming.

"We were playing very poor. At least now we are defending well. We are fighting for every ball. I think that's good. Like I say, I'm proud of the team, we are fighting for every ball, but that's the minimum for Manchester United players."

When Manchester United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and announced a caretaker manager would then be followed by an interim manager to be replaced by a third coach at the end of the season, confusion would have been written over the faces of many supporters.

It seemed an unnecessarily convoluted process to just appointing someone better than Solskjaer, but perceptions are already starting to change.

Michael Carrick had a pretty daunting introduction to life at the helm, with a crucial Champions League match followed by a trip to imperious Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Yet, after what was presumably his second and final game in charge, he's seen United take an entirely respectable four points – Ralf Rangnick waits in the wings, and there were even hallmarks of the German on display as Carrick presided over Sunday's 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

There could be no mistaking what was going through Carrick's mind before the game. While he shrugged off Cristiano Ronaldo's benching as just simple squad selection, one of the main focuses on the Portugal star this season has been a lack of work rate off the ball.

Given Rangnick's reputation and renown as the so-called 'Godfather of Gegenpressing', it can't have been a coincidence that Carrick opted to start a front three who would ordinarily be expected to get through a little more work when not in possession.

Getting in Chelsea faces appeared to be the objective, and to United's credit, there certainly seemed to be a greater desire to press with intensity during the early stages of the match.

While that may have been a sign of things to expect in future for United, it would also be fair to say they have much work to do as well – their urgency out of possession may have looked better, but it didn't seem to upset Chelsea massively.

The Blues still created a raft of opportunities, two of which were crafted inside the first three minutes and 10 seconds, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof unconvincing on both occasions.

Those accounted for two of the four saves David de Gea was forced into before the break, the Spaniard also tipping a long-range Antonio Rudiger strike onto the crossbar.

Chelsea reached half-time with no goals from 0.86 expected goals (xG), showing United (0.02 xG) were benefiting from a mixture of wasteful finishing and De Gea's excellence – so while Carrick's set-up technically worked to a certain extent, keeping the hosts out in the first half, the Red Devils offered nothing in attack themselves.

Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford were sloppy, Bruno Fernandes – deployed as a 'false 9' – seemed to be playing by his own rules, going rogue as he often popped up in the full-back areas. Nobody was leading the line and therefore United had no out-ball.

As a result, they managed just two touches in the Chelsea box and 21 passes in the final third – Thomas Tuchel's men had 16 and 81, respectively. United's mid-game tweet of "leading from the front" accompanied by a photo of Fernandes almost seemed sarcastic when Sancho was their only player whose average position was in the attacking half during the first 45.

But early in the second half, the game changed in an instant. Fernandes leathered a bouncing ball up the pitch with the kind of kick that would be followed by a shout of "have it!" in your average Sunday League game.

Jorginho's first touch was similarly Sunday League, the ball squirming off his foot and right to Sancho, who charged forward with only Rashford for company. A little swivel of the hips, suggesting he'd square the ball, deceived Edouard Mendy and the forward slotted home his first Premier League goal.

Of course, it was hardly a goal indicative of some new-found philosophy – it was a Jorginho error. Yet, had United not been pressing in anticipation of a mistake, they wouldn't have scored.

United suddenly started to look a threat on the counter-attack with Sancho and Rashford, who was far livelier than he had been in the first half – though Carrick might have wanted to see his team use their countering as a weapon a little more often.

As it was, they soon fell back into their set-up from the first half for the most part, sitting back in their own area and inviting pressure. It brought their downfall, as Wan-Bissaka's rash penalty concession allowed Jorginho to atone for his error at the other end.

United were fortunate, with Rudiger's late volley going high and wide when he looked destined to score, though they at least showed the kind of urgency and spirit that was lacking in recent embarrassments at the hands of Liverpool and Manchester City.

Rangnick's main concerns will likely lie in the tactical mishmash he stands to inherit, and in some ways this game showcased it perfectly. One minute their priority was pressing, the next it wasn't. They began to set up for counter-attacking, then they weren't.

Let's not forget, this is a squad assembled by several different coaches all with hugely varying ideas – from Louis van Gaal's possession-based approach and Jose Mourinho's pragmatism, to Solskjaer's counter-attacking (not that he stuck with that throughout his time in charge) and now Rangnick's 'Gegenpressing'.

The draw at Chelsea certainly shows Rangnick will have a lot to work with. The off-the-ball performances of Fred and Scott McTominay would have been particularly encouraging. But it also highlighted he has a lot of work to do.

Jorginho atoned for his earlier error with an equaliser from the spot as Chelsea recovered to draw 1-1 with Michael Carrick's Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Italy midfielder Jorginho looked to have set United on their way to victory in what is likely to be Carrick's only Premier League match as manager before he is replaced by another interim appointment in Ralf Rangnick.

No ever-present Premier League team have earned fewer points from losing positions than Chelsea since Thomas Tuchel's arrival in January, but Jadon Sancho's first goal in the competition after Jorginho's blunder was followed by similarly generous United defending.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka's foul on Thiago Silva teed up a Jorginho penalty, with a point – taking the Blues clear of Manchester City – the very least the hosts deserved.

United were beaten 4-1 by Watford last time out in the league in what proved to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's last match at the helm and familiar frailties were soon evident as neither Wan-Bissaka nor Victor Lindelof cut out a straightforward ball, forcing David de Gea to save smartly from Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Only the frame of the goal kept United on level terms going into the break, as Antonio Rudiger's long-range drive crashed against the crossbar, but Carrick's side were rewarded for staying in the game early in the second half.

Jorginho's loose touch gave Sancho a clear run from halfway and he used the potential square pass to Marcus Rashford as a decoy before slotting past Edouard Mendy.

Yet United gave Jorginho an opportunity to earn his reprieve when Wan-Bissaka hacked at Silva in the box, allowing the Chelsea midfielder to send De Gea the wrong way from 12 yards.

The result could have gone either way from that point, with Fred aiming a delicate chip into Mendy's arms after the goalkeeper had inexplicably passed him the ball, before Rudiger rifled a last-gasp volley over the crossbar when unmarked.

Michael Carrick has benched Cristiano Ronaldo for Manchester United's clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Ronaldo scored United's opener in the 2-0 win over Villarreal on Tuesday but has made way for the match against the Premier League leaders.

In all competitions, Ronaldo has scored just one goal in 15 appearances against Chelsea, doing so in the 2008 Champions League final. The Blues are the side he has faced the most without scoring in top-flight football (10 games).

Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who scored his first goal for the club on Tuesday, have instead been selected up top, with Bruno Fernandes seemingly spearheading a midfield diamond for United, whose 4-1 defeat at Watford last week signalled the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's time as manager.

Ralf Rangnick is expected to be announced as the club's interim manager soon, but Carrick was always set to take charge on Sunday. 

Behind the front three, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay and Fred were named in midfield, with Eric Bailly replacing the suspended Harry Maguire in defence and Alex Telles playing at left-back. Mason Greenwood was back on the bench after missing the defeat to Watford due to contracting COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel was able to welcome back Timo Werner into his starting XI, with Romelu Lukaku – who has only scored in one match against United in his career, back in 2013 – was also available after his injury lay-off, though only deemed fit enough for the bench.

League leaders Chelsea have conceded just four goals in their 12 Premier League games this season. Only the Blues themselves (three in 2004-05) have shipped fewer at this stage of an English top-flight campaign, though N'Golo Kante was not available after suffering an injury in the midweek win over Juventus.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek was chosen to partner Jorginho in midfield, with Marcos Alonso replacing the injured Ben Chilwell. 

Michael Carrick insists he is fully focused on preparing Manchester United for Sunday's game against Chelsea, with the Red Devils reportedly on the brink of appointing Ralf Rangnick.

According to reports, the 63-year-old is set to take over the reins at Old Trafford as interim manager for the remainder of this season, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having been dismissed after last weekend's 4-1 defeat at Watford.

The Red Devils are believed to have agreed terms with Rangnick and Lokomotiv Moscow, where he is serving as their head of sports and development.

Carrick, who was assistant to Solskjaer, oversaw United's 2-0 win over Villarreal in the Champions League on Tuesday, and will remain in charge for this weekend's showdown with Premier League leaders Chelsea.

And the former midfielder, who played over 450 times and won five Premier League titles at Old Trafford, has his sights firmly set on the trip to Stamford Bridge.

"My future is the next two or three days – that's as far as I'm prepared to look," he said. "That's the right way to go about it. 

"Football is that type of business – you never know what's around the corner at the best of times. All my energy is on Sunday.

"I'll control what I can control. How do I prepare the team for the next game? Everything else is not for me to worry about or get involved with."

"I'm literally just looking at this next game, a huge game. Whatever happens after that we'll have to wait and see.

"I didn't put myself in this position, but to be involved in a big game like this – as a player or coach – it's a hugely challenging game. 

“Playing against Chelsea, they were always our big rivals when I first got here. I've got a history with them, but we thrive on that competition."

Rangnick's first game at the helm would be the home Premier League clash with Arsenal next week.

The German has managed five clubs in the Bundesliga and guided Schalke to a second-place finish in 2004-05.

He also steered them to glory in the DFB-Pokal six years later, as well as the Champions League semi-finals.

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