UNITED STAMP THEIR RESOLVE
Carrick signs new one-year deal to help turn Mourinho’s side into contenders
MANCHESTER United’s much-decorated midfielder Michael Carrick will be staying at Old Trafford next season to try and help Jose Mourinho mount a genuine challenge for the Premier League title.
Carrick signed a new year-long deal on Saturday night, meaning he will go into his testimonial next weekend knowing he will wear Manchester red for a 12th season from August.
His decision gives Mourinho an important boost at the start of a summer of transfer activity that will help define whether he can take the EFL Cup and Europa League winners to the next level of challenging for the biggest trophies.
Should Wayne Rooney leave as expected this summer, 35-yearold Carrick will be the longestserving player at United and the sole survivor from their 2008 Champions League-winning side.
Mourinho acknowledged Carrick’s influence and know-how on his new-look United team that could feature four additional signings by the time the new campaign starts in August.
“Not only is he a great footballer, Michael is also a fantastic human being and a great role model to our younger members of the team. He is one of the true professionals of the game,” said the United manager.
Both Carrick and Mourinho are serial winners and know that competing for the Premier League and Champions League is the next step after last week’s Europa League triumph.
The comprehensive manner of their 2-0 victory against Ajax has given fresh hope of United being able to overturn a 24-point gap between themselves and Premier League champions Chelsea, besides returning to the Champions League.
“Antonio Conte has done a very good job with Chelsea but we will see next season. I think we will fight for the title,” said defender Matteo Darmian. “The manager is a winner. He pushes the players and the trophies he’s won speaks for itself. It gives confidence to everyone.
“He brought his mentality from the beginning, his idea of work and football. I think we’ve improved a lot from it and won trophies. It’s not bad.”
Young Dutch defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who is set to play a major part in Mourinho’s plans, added: “The title is possible. We are United so that is what we aim for. I wouldn’t say there is a big gap. We beat Chelsea and drew at Manchester City.”
Among Mourinho’s targets to turn United into title contenders are the Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann and Burnley defender Michael Keane. Despite his comments last week decrying football ‘poetry’, there is also some pressure on the United manager to get the balance right between style and success.
Former manager Sir Alex Ferguson is among those concerned that the club have not lived up to their tradition of providing entertainment, believing the team’s lack of tempo and crosses make them easier to defend against. Ferguson’s biographer wrote an article headlined ‘Mourinho must add poetry to pragmatism if team are to progress’ after their Europa win in Stockholm.
Mourinho’s insistence that United have won three trophies this season — he includes the Community Shield as a proper trophy — has also been viewed with raised eyebrows. David Moyes did not leave Old Trafford hailed as a trophy-winner despite the Community Shield win in 2013.
United will parade the Europa League trophy before Carrick’s testimonial at Old Trafford next Sunday between a United ’08 XI and a Carrick all-star XI featuring Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane.
Carrick said: “I am delighted my journey with this great club is going to continue. I am thrilled the fans will get to see our new trophy on my testimonial day.” Daily Mail
Michael Carrick will be the longest-serving player at United should Wayne Rooney leave as expected this summer.