Carrick was superb during the game but had to come off late on after picking up a knock.
As Man United had made all their substitutions by then, it meant they had to play the final few minutes of the game with ten men.
However, the damage was done as far as United were concerned and they wrapped up the three points despite Sergio Aguero’s late goal. Van Gaal joked that it was a “stupid” decision to bring Carrick off as some of the other player’s didn’t realise he had gone.
Following that in an interview with Sky Sports, van Gaal added: “Of course, the result [at the time] is fantastic, 4-1, but then I had to bring Carrick off, it was a little bit stupid of me. I wanted to give all of my players minutes because they have been working so hard. Wayne [Rooney] had to play as a holding midfielder, and it was difficult.
“The second half was much better than the first and I think that, until the moment Michael went off, we were fantastic.”
The hope for fans is that Carrick’s withdrawal isn’t too serious and was more precautionary than anything as he ran the show against City.
Pulling the strings in midfield, the Englishman regularly found his teammates with a range of assured and intelligent passing. He has been instrumental during United’s six-game winning streak so van Gaal will want him fit and ready to face Chelsea next weekend.