Michael Carrick: Last minute winner against Newcastle United was a “big moment”

by Leo Nieboer

Michael Carrick has described Alexis Sanchez’s last minute winner against Newcastle United as a “big moment” for the dressing room.

Jose Mourinho’s team had performed woefully in the first half, conceding twice in the first ten minutes and failing to offer any kind of meaningful threat going forward.

But Juan Mata‘s free-kick ignited an almighty display of fast attacking football, with Anthony Martial driving home an equaliser before the much maligned Sanchez headed home a crucial winner.

Speaking in an interview earlier this week, Carrick did not want to label the goal as a watershed moment but stressed that the goal had a massive effect on the dressing room.

“I‘m not gonna get carried away with things, time will tell that,” he said. “There’s no point in me sitting here saying, ‘this could be this, it could be that’.”

“It was a big moment for us, a big moment for the club.

“A big moment for the players. I was proud of the lads. The way they responded, dug in, found a way to win and showed real character and guts and quality to turn the game around.

“It’s a tough place to be when you are out there and things aren’t going well and you find yourself 2-0 down so early in a game so I was really proud with the way the boys turned it round and we’ve got big games coming up now and are obviously looking to get good results from them and kick on and improve things.”

In the long run, that winner may well mean absolutely nothing. At the same time, imagine if United had not produced that second half performance. Imagine if Newcastle had won 3-0, which felt like a genuine possibility at one point. That would have been five games without a win ahead of a trip to Stamford Bridge and back to back clashes with Juventus.

That Alexis winner will not ‘save’ Mourinho. The task which meets him after the international break remains decidedly daunting. But it has, at the very least, restored the belief in the dressing room and bought the manager some time.

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