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Saturday 3 December 2016

'It wasn't always exciting under Ferguson'

Veteran Carrick hits back at critics of 'negative' United

Manchester United veteran Michael Carrick, pictured in action against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night, has responded to critics of United's style of play under manager Louis van Gaal
Manchester United veteran Michael Carrick, pictured in action against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night, has responded to critics of United's style of play under manager Louis van Gaal
Michael Carrick, pictured with Alex Ferguson, after signing for Manchester United back in August 2006

Michael Carrick has dismissed the idea that Manchester United always played thrilling football under Alex Ferguson, saying: "Your childhood was always great wasn't it?"

Louis van Gaal has come in for fierce criticism over his cautious tactics - especially after watching his side go three games without a goal in recent weeks.

United ended that drought on Tuesday with a 1-0 win against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League and will seek to continue in that vein in tomorrow's Premier League clash with West Brom at Old Trafford.

Carrick was keen to point out that even during Ferguson's reign there were times when the goals didn't flow.

"I remember nights when it didn't go well or we got beat," said the midfielder. "There were nights like that, it's just how it is.

"It's how people remember things, isn't it? Your childhood was always great wasn't it?

"It's easy to do that and everyone is guilty of that, players as well, but there is always pressure here, every time you put a shirt on and play.

"People will always look to judge you and that will never change, but there is nothing wrong with that."

Paul Scholes has been among the most scathing in his criticism of Van Gaal.

Critical

The United legend believes ex strikers like Andy Cole, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Teddy Sheringham would all have struggled to play under the Dutchman.

But Carrick insists United will not be dragged down by critical comments from ex-Reds team-mates like Scholes and that the brickbats are not getting under Carrick's skin.

"There are so many opinions out there. If you start worrying about what people are saying about you on TV or in the papers then you are in trouble," says the 34-year-old.

"We know as players what we have to focus on. There is nothing wrong with those comments. People are there to have opinions. That's fine. You have to take the rough with the smooth and if you accept the pats on the back then you have to accept the criticism when it comes.

"What he (Scholes) said doesn't bother me. I have respect for Scholesy and that isn't going to change. It's not an issue really.

"There is always pressure here, every time you put a shirt on and play. People will always look to judge you and that will never change. There is nothing wrong with that."

Meanwhile, United were told by their manager to ignore the booing at Old Trafford as they went in search of a win against CSKA.

United had been subjected to boos and whistles at half-time from the Stretford End, while chants to attack rippled round the ground through the game and Van Gaal's decision to replace Anthony Martial with Marouane Fellaini was loudly booed.

Reds midfielder Jesse Lingard revealed it was mentioned in the half-time team talk.

"Just to keep going and perform the same as the first half," he said when asked what the message had been at the interval. "Be patient, ignore the fans and keep playing your own game."

Lingard was one of United's best players on the night, putting the ball onto Rooney's head for the game's only goal.

"I was trying to be as direct as I could and get the crowd on their feet," he said.

"Obviously I had to be direct at the right time, so we had to be patient sometimes. I'm glad the goal came."

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