Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick has emphasised the respect he has for Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson. Carrick - a novice to football management - will come up against Pearson when their two sides meet at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.
Carrick, most known for his extensive playing career at Manchester United, has taken his first steps into management. The 41-year-old had a brief stint as caretaker at Old Trafford but Boro is his first permanent position.
Pearson will have come up against Carrick when he was manager of Leicester City in the Premier League. Carrick’s career has been spent mainly in the top flight as a player but now the ex-West Ham midfielder must outwit the tried and tested Pearson.
Carrick did not feature when Pearson masterminded a 5-3 victory over Man United back in September 2014 but has played close attention to the career of the former Foxes manager. Pearson guided Leicester to safety in 2015 and put down the foundations for them to win the Premier League a year later.
“I’ve met Nigel a few times and played against him a few times, not on a personal level so much,” Carrick said in his pre-match press conference. “I definitely respect him for the work he has done and how he goes about it and how he can galvanise a group of players at a club. His management skills are very good, I have a huge respect for Nigel and I look forward to seeing him on the weekend.”
As for the two managers’ current sides, both are at the wrong end of the table. Boro are 19th and are performing below their early expectations of promotion, ultimately costing Chris Wilder his job. City are four places higher in 15th but have struggled for form recently with no win in their last three matches.
Despite their lowly position, City are the joint-third highest scorers in the division but also possess one of the worst defensive records. Hull City - based in 21st are the only team to have conceded more goals than the Robins this season.
Carrick has looked to the forward line as to where City could cause his side problems with Nahki Wells and Tommy Conway the best in the strikers department at the moment. Pearson is set to stick with the 3-5-2 formation and the Boro man believes in the middle is where they could exploit them.
“They’re a very dangerous team,” admitted Carrick. They have a threat along the front line, quick and penetration in the middle is something we’ve got to look for.
“They’re a good organised team. They’ve had some mixed results but most teams in this league have mixed results. We know all about them that they are a good team and we respect them for sure. It will be a good gauge of how we can improve from Tuesday night.”