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Carrick not lined up for United assistant role

Man United 1 Watford 0

By Rory Dollard

Jose Mourinho will go without an assistant manager next season but expects retiring Manchester United captain Michael Carrick to grow into the role.

Mourinho handed Carrick his 464th and final appearance in the 1-0 victory over Watford and the midfielder was given both a pre-match guard of honour and a standing ovation as he left the pitch at Old Trafford.

He will join the backroom team in the summer but not, for now at least, as a like-for-like heir to Rui Faria.

Mourinho has decided he cannot adequately replace his right-hand man of the past 17 years and will instead redesign his staff with no official deputy.

It is clear, though, that the seat is being kept warm for the five-time title winner. I think it will be Michael Carrick in the future," he said.

"When he has his badges, when he has his pro licence, when he makes the bridge from player to assistant.

"I don't think it (an immediate appointment) makes sense when Rui is leaving after 17 years. I have nobody in the world of football ready to be assistant manager. Nobody."

Carrick was full of praise for Mourinho, and said: "I need to thank Jose for giving me the opportunity. It is an unbelievable opportunity. I look forward to working with him.

"He's one of the best. He'll teach me some things and we're going to have some success in the near future, I'm certain of that."

Addressing the fans, Carrick added: "I'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone for their support over the years, it's been unbelievable.

"I have a lot of memories to cherish, some I'll never forget, especially of this place. It's an amazing place to play football. It's the greatest club in the world and I thank you for your support over the last 12 years."

While Carrick might be hanging up his boots, his United team-mates still have the FA Cup final against Chelsea to prepare for.

Mourinho made nine changes to the side which beat the Hornets thanks to a Marcus Rashford tap-in made by Carrick's long pass and laid on by Juan Mata's selflessness.

Yet there was no Anthony Martial in the squad, despite Mourinho's prior indication the Frenchman would start.

Mourinho revealed a knee injury had kept him out.

"He's injured," he said. "Injured Friday in a training session. He had treatment in the morning in the training ground and stayed away."

MAN UTD: Romero, Bailly, Rojo, Blind (Herrera 76), Darmian, Carrick (Pogba, 84 mins), Mata, Young (Shaw, 60 mins), McTominay, Rashford, Sanchez. Unused subs: J Pereira, Jones, Valencia, Lingard.

Watford: Gomes, Janmaat, Cathcart, Kabasele (Mariappa, 20 mins), Holebas, Doucouré, Hughes, Deulofeu (Deeney, 63 mins), Pereyra, Richarlison, Gray (Chalobah, 72 mins). Unused subs: Bachmann, Prodl, Lukebakio, Sinclair.

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)

Man of match: Eric Bailly

Match rating: 7/10

Belfast Telegraph

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