Manchester United interim manager Michael Carrick said his feeling of disappointment to leave Stamford Bridge with a draw shows how far the team have come in two games after a week of turmoil and a tough challenger in Chelsea.
United’s Jadon Sancho broke the deadlock at 50 minutes after keeping Chelsea at bay for the first half, but the Blues equalised from a penalty just 19 minutes later. Both teams had chances in the closing stages to take the three points on offer, but United closed down the defence and settled for a 1-1 draw.
Carrick said: “[I’m] disappointed actually when you’re in front to have it taken away from you. I’m immensely proud of the players and the whole group – staff, players, the whole group -trying to make the best of a bad situation, we can’t hide from that, it’s been tough at times but we made the best of it.
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“I’m immensely proud of the response and the way we’ve gone about it this week but there’s that feeling that we came here to win the game, we had a plan and we were positive in our mindset and attitude for that so little bit disappointed.”
He added: “It’s a good Chelsea team, they’ve had a great run of results so to come away disappointed and feel that we’ve left something out there in some ways is a positive.”
Carrick did not include Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting XI and said his choice to omit the star striker was to add freshness and energy to the squad: “The change I made was a feeling, about how we could hurt them, penetrate and a bit of freshness as a team and energy.
“Some boys have played a lot of games and there’s an awful lot that goes into that. Block in the middle of the pitch was a big part of it, we wanted to take more of the ball, we did that but we couldn’t manage to pull [the win] off and I don’t blame the players for that, it’s been a tough time and when you’ve come from the place we’ve come from to where Chelsea have come from, I can’t blame the players.”
Meanwhile Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel also said he was happy to come away with a draw, keeping his side top of the Premier League table. “I’m happy, absolutely happy,” he said. “I saw a big effort, huge intensity, we had so many ball recoveries in the opponent half. We put the pressure up high, we controlled the counter attacks before they started we were brave and courageous.
“They defended deep but you need that first goal to open it a bit and gain that last percent of freedom and confidence to follow up and goals and big changes and if you don’t score you always run a bit behind because you feel you are the stronger team and play in your opponents’ half.
“We had two or three big chances we should have maybe used in general I am very happy because I like the way we played. I was happy with our aggression with the rhythm intensity we defended with four in the back, Antonio [Rüdiger], Thiago [Silva] stepped out against Bruno Fernandes and did not let them escape from their own half.”
Christian Pulisic made an attempt to put Chelsea 2-1 up in the final minutes, but Tuchel said he cannot be surprised it did not work out: “This has happened to us twice now, that we invest so much and we played such good games against Burnley and Man United and feel disappointed because we did by far enough and push the limits and push the standards to win these games.
“Over a long season you drop points and dig in and try to steal them back. So this is what we do, and don’t count the points we are in the middle of the race and that’s there we want to be and from there we go,”
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