Goals for Michael Carrick in the Champions League were few and far between, but two of them came in one of Manchester United's biggest ever wins over Roma in 2007.
Having lost in the first-leg, United romped to a 7-1 win in an extraordinary second-leg - and Carrick suggested in his autobiography that the way the team's fans were treated in Rome helped to motivate them to the huge win.
Michael Carrick says fans played essential role in famous 7-1 Roma win
Michael Carrick joined Manchester United in the summer of 2006 from Tottenham, and spent fifteen years at the club as a player, then a coach, and most recently as the club's caretaker manager in the aftermath of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking.
Carrick impressed pundits during his three games in charge, but chose to depart the club after his final game in the hotseat on Thursday night against Arsenal.
Michael Carrick has left Manchester United after 15 years associated with the club.
He stepped down after his final game as interim manager ended in a 3-2 win over Arsenal. pic.twitter.com/vIen7DmsqT
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) December 2, 2021
Carrick's first season at Manchester United as a player saw him establishing his place alongside Paul Scholes in the centre of midfield. The team reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, where they were drawn against Italian side Roma.
The first-leg was a grim affair on the pitch for United, as they fell to a 2-1 defeat and Scholes was sent off, but the experience was even worse for the fans who travelled to the Italian capital.
Manchester United warned their fans ahead of the trip to Rome that they should be prepared for a hostile reception from the "Ultras" among Roma's support, and they ultimately fell foul of violence. The police response was less than inspiring, with a brutal response leading to 11 United fans being hospitalised and two requiring an overnight stay.
A United club statement at the time said:
In what the club views as a serious over-reaction, local police handed out indiscriminate beatings to United supporters. In those circumstances, neither Manchester United, nor AS Roma is able to call the police to account.
Speaking in his 2018 autobiography, Michael Carrick remembered the nervy and hostile atmosphere in the Stadio Olimpico, and the sour mood it created:
I remember the atmosphere ramped right up. Our fans were warned about ambushes by Ultras, especially on the walk over the Ponte Duca D'Aosta towards the ground. It was a rough night all round as we got ambushed on the pitch.
That was a hard, hard night.
Our fans got a terrible beating off the Italian police at half-time, shocking really. We got out just about in one piece.
The away goal was crucial for Manchester United, and gave them a fighting chance going into the second-leg. With Scholes suspended, the game at Old Trafford was a major chance for Carrick to make an impact in midfield.
Carrick remembers just how intense the atmosphere was in Manchester for the return leg, and even suggested that the treatment of the United fans in Rome may have played a role in the volume in the stadium.
Old Trafford can be quiet at times, that's only natural, but not on make-or-break European nights like this.
Maybe our fans were still angry over the harsh treatment meted out to them in Rome and wanted retribution for the batons and the abuse. Maybe they'd also seen the trouble outside Old Trafford as Roma fans ran riot. Maybe they knew how much the players needed them.
They certainly didn't let us down, backing us raucously, and we responded by tearing into Roma.
For Michael Carrick himself, it was a fantastic night. He only scored four Champions League goals during his time with the club, but half of them came that night against Roma.
This was the night when I felt I truly arrived at Old Trafford.
[When he scored the opener] Old Trafford just went mad. It lit the touch paper. It was one of the great nights at Old Trafford, and will remain forever in my memory.
It was an extraordinary performance, as Manchester United recorded the biggest win ever in a Champions League quarter-final with a 7-1 scoreline on the night.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 10, 2020
If Michael Carrick is to be believed, the drubbing of Roma was as much for the fans as for the players, and he says that Manchester United fans still approach him and say that it is a highlight of their time supporting the club - even though they went on to lose in the semi-finals.
Wazza [Wayne Rooney] made it 5-0 and still the United fans chanted 'attack, attack, attack', it was like they really wanted Roma to suffer, so I obliged with one of those shots you take on when you're firing on all cylinders and the ball just flew in the top corner. Wazza came over and we just started laughing.
Even now, I can be out and about and United fans rush up to tell me that Roma 7-1 was one of their favourite nights.