Ronaldo was left on the bench despite his fine goalscoring form for Manchester United and made little impact following his 64th-minute introduction, before quickly heading down the Stamford Bridge tunnel at the final whistle
Manchester United caretaker boss Michael Carrick says there has been no “drama” at the club over his decision to leave Cristiano Ronaldo out of his starting line-up for Sunday’s draw at Chelsea.
Ronaldo was left on the bench despite his fine goalscoring form and made little impact following his 64th minute introduction, before quickly heading down the Stamford Bridge tunnel at the final whistle as the game ended 1-1.
Carrick was placed in temporary charge following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking and is set to remain in charge for Thursday’s clash with Arsenal, as United’s newly appointed interim boss Ralf Rangnick awaits a work permit.
“I think them type of discussions get blown up really, a lot bigger than they probably are, when you’re kind of inside the team or the club,” Carrick said on Wednesday.
“Decisions are made for a lot of different reasons and of course certain ones get bigger news than others, but that’s how it was.
Ronaldo had scored 10 goals in 14 appearances since returning to United in the summer, but in his second game in charge Carrick opted to start Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford up front.
Carrick says that he has not yet spoken to Rangnick, whose appointment was confirmed on Monday.
“I haven’t got anything to update on,” Carrick said. “The process of the work permit and visa is ongoing as we speak.
“I am in this position, as I was for Villarreal and Chelsea. I’m getting the boys ready for game tomorrow night.
“It is pretty much as it was for both games. Because of the process we haven’t been able to [speak].
“We have carried on as we have done. It has worked well for the last two games and hopefully it will tomorrow.”
‘Fred doing well in tweaked role’
Carrick says he has been pleased by Fred’s performances during his two games in charge, and believes a “tweak” of the central midfielder’s role has benefited the team.
Despite facing criticism from pundits and United supporters for his performances since joining the club in 2018, Carrick believes Fred’s status as a regular starter for Brazil highlights the 28-year-old’s quality.
“I think that 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,” Carrick said.
“For me, one of the biggest things that maybe people don’t see is the attitude, his desire to be a team player and desperate to put himself out there to play games.
“That mentality is infectious and I’m all for that. I think he’s obviously improved an awful lot – brings a great energy to the team.
“He’s played a little bit higher up the pitch at times the last couple of games than maybe before, just because we’ve tweaked a couple of things for both games.
“He’s done ever so well and I think obviously the regains, especially [for] Cristiano’s goal at Villarreal, epitomise that, and he nearly got one the other night when he intercepted from [Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard] Mendy late on and nearly scored.”
Young Boys given all clear to travel to Manchester
Meanwhile, United will not have to play their final Champions League group stage match at a neutral venue, after Young Boys were given special dispensation by Swiss authorities to travel to the UK for next week’s game.
The Old Trafford date had been placed in jeopardy by Switzerland imposing new restrictions on UK arrivals in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
The restrictions mean anyone coming from the UK needs to provide a negative Covid test and quarantine for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status.
The idea of the December 8 game being played at a neutral venue was raised, but the Swiss club have now confirmed there is no need for that.
A statement read: “BSC Young Boys has received a special permit from the Canton of Bern for away games in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Youth League.
“This means that the players and staff of the teams do not have to be in 10-day quarantine after returning from the UEFA Champions League game Manchester United-YB on Wednesday, December 8.
“This would have meant that the Swiss champions would not have been able to play the championship games against Sion (December 12) and Basel (December 15) and would also have played the last game of the year on December 19 in Lugano, coming straight from quarantine.”
Young Boys said players and staff will leave Bern on Tuesday via charter flight to Manchester and return to Switzerland on Thursday.
The club said the group will be in a “strictly separated bubble” as they have been in their previous five European away trips this season.
The statement added: “The BSC YB would like to thank the Canton of Bern for the flexibility and the exemption and will do everything in its power to continue to act as a role model.”
United guaranteed themselves top spot in the group by winning 2-0 at Villarreal in their last game on November 23.