Michael Carrick has denied suggestions that Ralf Rangnick, the former Bayern Munich coach, was involved in picking the side that played Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Rangnick, who left the German champions last year to become the technical director of Borussia Dortmund, has been widely criticised for making an appearance on the touchline against United and telling the former United goalkeeper Sergio Romero to come out of his goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
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Carrick, the Manchester United vice-captain, has played down any suggestion Rangnick, who was a Bayern director before joining Dortmund, was in the dugout at Chelsea, saying he was more in the air.
“I heard [Rangnick] on the touchline,” Carrick said. “That was me, and by the way it’s unbelievable because that’s not the way he is.
“He’s made a mistake. I’m not sure why he was there. Maybe he was on the touchline. Obviously the club has said: ‘No, he was in the air, in the air.’ I saw him on the touchline but it’s never his style to get involved in any of that. He’s more of a general, in the air. I don’t think he’s going to let something like that happen, but you never know.”
Sky Sports reported that Rangnick was in the stands to see Pablo Zabaleta and Raúl Albiol start against United but the Argentine defender was withdrawn at half-time with an injured knee. Then, in the second half, Albiol replaced Zabaleta, making his first start for Borussia Dortmund since being signed from Sevilla in the summer.
The Guardian understands that the Argentine had a second substitution planned but that would be dependent on the brace he scored after doubling Dortmund’s lead.
Rangnick has insisted he was not involved in the refereeing decisions after Manchester United secured their sixth consecutive away win in all competitions.
He told Kicker: “I’m still too upset and emotions are still high. I saw the decisions coming to help United, but I didn’t have any reason to tell Romero or the goalkeepers coach.
“He’s [Sergio Romero] one of the best goalkeepers in the world. I know him well, so it wasn’t just me, the man responsible [for the decisions], who told him to come out of his goal, I’ve been in conversation with Romero, and there was no reason.”
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Rangnick said he had to speak to Romero on the pitch to try to persuade him to leave his goal. “We have communicated that I talked to Romero from the stands. You can’t come off without telling the goalkeeper.
“We were winning and I wanted to get a goal out of him, and in the last few seconds, on the pitch, he was thinking and I didn’t want him to sit there and think: ‘We have lost, it’s impossible.’ If he did think that, he would say: ‘OK, I can go.’
“We also spoke to the full-backs [Albiol and Lukasz Piszczek] and the striker [Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang]. When you get the chance to talk to a player who might be able to change the result, it should happen.”