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Carrick sets up Man United winner ahead of coaching switch
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Michael Carrick ended his Manchester United playing career at Old Trafford by helping to set up the goal in a 1-0 win over Watford on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday.
Carrick's superb long pass played Juan Mata in behind the defense and Marcus Rashford tapped into the goal in the 34th minute for the runners-up.
The 36-year-old Carrick, who is moving onto the coaching staff, could still play one final time for United as Jose Mourinho's side faces Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
"I need to thank Jose for giving me the opportunity," Carrick said. "I look forward to working with him and learning from him. He's one of the best. He'll teach me some things and we're going to have some success in the near future, I'm certain of that."
With Mourinho focused on Wembley, David de Gea, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were all rested as Carrick was given center stage after a season of little action. Carrick's 464th appearance for United ended in the 85th minute when he left the game to a huge ovation.
Carrick's addition to the coaching staff isn't the only change at United, with assistant coach Rui Faria ending his 17-year partnership with Mourinho. Faria has been No. 2 to Mourinho at Leiria, Porto, Chelsea (twice), Inter Milan, Real Madrid and United.
"Moving forward I will organize my coaching staff in a way where the assistant manager figure doesn't exist," Mourinho said. "I'm going to have coaches, assistant coaches, fitness coaches and a structure where they have specialists in different areas connected to performance. And my analysts. I'm not going to have an assistant manager in the sense of the word.
"I think it will be Michael Carrick in future, when he has his badges. When he has his pro license, when he makes the bridge from player to assistant."
More AP Premier League coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/PremierLeague
Updated May 13, 2018