Michael Carrick won't celebrate top four finish for Manchester United
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has insisted his team-mates should not celebrate if they secure top four finish in the Premier League this season - as he suggests nothing but title wins are acceptable for the Old Trafford club.
In comments that serve as a reminder of the kind of mentality Alex Ferguson instilled into his United players during his enduring reign as the club's manager, Carrick sprinkled some perspective over the push to secure a return to the Champions League.
With United seemingly too far behind runaway title leaders Chelsea to mount a serious challenge for top spot, the five-time Premier League winner has confirmed his club should be targeting more than just top four finishes.
"It’s not something we’d celebrate, if we finished third, fourth or even second,” said Carrick, in quotes appearing in the Daily Mirror.
“You only celebrate when you win, but the Champions League is a big part of this club. It’s where you want to play, it’s where the best players want to play,
“So in terms of attracting players and all that type of stuff, the club is geared up for that, of course it is, but you can only celebrate winning, really, and finishing top.”
Carrick also gave his assesment of United's patchy season, with manager Jose Mourinho finally appearing to find a winning formula in recent weeks.
“It’s been a strange one,” he added. “We started well, had a bit of a sticky patch, and ever since then we’ve gone an incredible run which, in other years, would have kicked us right up the table.
“But the teams around us went on similar runs. We’re playing well though and we’ve been pretty consistent over quite a long period of time.
“Every manager has got his own way of doing things, how they see the game, what to do in certain situations and general philosophy of how to put a team together.
“I think everyone agrees, attacking-wise, we look a lot more dangerous and exciting this year.
"We’ve scored a lot more goals and it’s a different style of play now. There’s a confidence and a belief that probably comes from playing so well over a long period of time and getting good results.
“It’s about building momentum, which is something you can’t achieve in a week or a month or two. It takes time but I think we’re getting there. We’ve still got a way to go, but it certainly feels like it’s going in the right direction.”
Carrick, 35, also admitted this may be his last season at United, with Mourinho and the club yet to confirm whether he will be offered another one-year contract extension.