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Carrick hails Van Gaal’s impact

Manchester-United-v-Manchester-City-Premier-LeagueMichael Carrick has hailed the impact Louis Van Gaal has had on his season, claiming the United manager was the reason behind his excellent campaign.

The former Spurs man was one of United’s midfielder when not blighted by a catalogue of injuries, which left his side bereft of a key man in the middle of the park.

“He’s been terrific for me; he’s supported me and given me a lot of responsibility,” Carrick said of Van Gaal’s approach.

“As the season has gone on, I think I’ve shown that on the pitch; I’ve been happy with the way I’ve played.

“He’s a lot more measured and a lot more calculated with the positions he wants me to take up on and off the ball, and also in terms of distribution. If it’s five yards out, he’ll shout to let you know.”

For all the talk of philosophy, the 33-year-old explained that the Dutchman’s approach is quite flexible.

“It can change game to game – during the Liverpool match, for example, I was pretty much playing as an extra centre-back because of their system,” he said.

“Things changed for that one game, so he adapts and it’s good for me. I’m learning all the time.”

Carrick added Van Gaal had taught to think a lot more about his role on the pitch, rather than to rely solely on his instinct.

“I probably think about it [what I do on the pitch] a lot more now within the game, instead of with instinct and habits,” he said.

“You get good and bad habits, but I’m certainly thinking a lot more about certain scenarios in the game.

“At times, it goes against what you’re used to but for the benefit of the team, it’s far greater.

“Sometimes it can take a while for players to understand and adapt to that, and I think we’ve definitely seen an improvement as the season’s gone on.”

With United likely to add to their ranks in the summer, Carrick could see competition growing for his role but stressed there was still room for improvement.

“For sure, there’s still a long way to go yet,” he said.

“The manager has certainly got his own philosophy and his own style of play.

“We can see that now; there’s a clear identity when we play – it’s his way. With possession and the measured way we work our way up the pitch, it’s a fine balance and you need an end product.

“That’s what we’re working on now.”