Analysis of Michael Carrick’s time as Middlesbrough manager impresses fans

A detailed video of what Michael Carrick has achieved with Championship side Middlesbrough since taking over has gone viral.

Carrick was part of Manchester United’s coaching setup until he stepped down after a stint as caretaker manager last December.

How he would fare in his first permanent job interested many supporters. Carrick had his opportunity with Middlesbrough, who sacked Chris Wilder with the club 22nd in the table.

After losing to Preston North End in their first game, Carrick guided Middlesbrough to a five-game unbeaten streak. They would lose to Championship leaders Burnley to end that run, but bounced back with a 4-1 win over Wigan Athletic on Boxing Day.

Middlesbrough now sit 11th in the Championship, two points clear of the playoffs. Based on form since Carrick’s arrival, the Boro would be fourth in the table.

How did Carrick pull off such a dramatic turnaround in two months, with a World Cup break lodged in the middle?

TikTok user @hto_mufc described Carrick’s tactics and management style in a great video, which you can watch below.

Under Wilder, Middlesbrough played the overlapping centre-back system the manager used to secure promotion from Sheffield United against overwhelming odds in 2019.

It had started to get stale, though. Failure to qualify for the playoffs in 21/22 cost the players dearly, as they won just two of their first 11 games. Carrick decided to modify this system.

The Middlesbrough defense becomes a back three on the build as Ryan Giles, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, bombs down the left side. Tommy Smith on the right lines up alongside Dael Fry and Darragh Lenihan to keep that structure.

Middlesbrough's system against Blackpool.  They managed to overwhelm the Tangerines with a reserve man and score with that shot.  (Image credit: Middlesbrough/YouTube)
Middlesbrough’s system against Blackpool. They managed to overwhelm the Tangerines with a reserve man and score with that shot. (Image credit: Middlesbrough/YouTube)

Giles’ role in the team is vital, as moving the opposing team’s block gives him acres of space to exploit.

This creates an attacking five, similar to Premier League leaders Arsenal, when Kieran Tierney or Oleksandr Zinchenko advance.

Giles assists Chuba Akpom, who has eight goals under Carrick. Akpom plays right next to Marcus Forss, creating a 3-2-5 formation in attack.

Duncan Watmore operates in half-space, while Isaiah Jones and Giles offer that threat from the flanks. Akpom right next to Forss completes the forward line.

Could Carrick guide Middlesbrough to the Premier League playing this brand of football? Only time will tell.

Middlesbrough will get a taste of top-flight opposition when they take on Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup on January 7.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *