Taking over a side that conceded four goals at Watford on Saturday, Carrick has apparently sought to keep things tight against a side that had caused serious problems for United in their last two encounters.
Although Paul Scholes suggested Carrick and his team should have left Old Trafford after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking, the acting boss made some big calls.
It might not have been pretty, but frankly United had to prove that they could stop giving away goals and look like something that comes close to being a cohesive squad. For big games they did, although a mind-blowing save from David De Gea kept them level before Villarreal’s intensity waned.
Chelsea on Sunday will provide a more difficult test but, for now, it’s certainly something to build on.