Carrick: Wembley defeat behind us

13 September 2011 10:00

Michael Carrick refuses to beat himself up over Manchester United's Champions League defeat by Barcelona last May.

The Red Devils begin another quest to conquer club football's number one competition on Wednesday when they tackle legendary Portuguese outfit Benfica at the Stadium of Light. Their aim is clear: finding a way to match the Catalans, who completely outclassed United as they romped to victory at Wembley.

But the 30-year-old said: "The Champions League final doesn't still hurt. It was disappointing because we lost the final but it wasn't a massive failure. I haven't watched it again. I went on my holidays and focused on this season. You have to accept they were good. It is up to us to be better."

The quest looks a lot more positive than it did at the start of summer thanks to the infusion of so many electrifying young talents into Sir Alex Ferguson's team.

It has helped contribute to Carrick, amongst others, being reduced to a peripheral role during United's rocket-propelled start to the campaign.

The most notable team-mate of Carrick's who has yet to have any significant involvement is last season's Golden Boot winner, Dimitar Berbatov.

However, Park Ji-sung, Ryan Giggs, Darren Fletcher and Antonio Valencia have also been rarely seen, the latter duo not even getting a place on the bench so far.

That is all likely to change on Wednesday, with Ferguson vowing to give his more experienced campaigners a run out.

Carrick understands why he has had to be so patient. It is not just Ferguson who has been enthused by the contribution of the younger players. He has felt the same emotions, and - though Tom Cleverley's four-week absence with damaged ligaments has offered a route back to the first team - the Geordie is disappointed at his team-mate's extended absence.

"The young lads have come out flying," said Carrick. "It is great to see them bursting through. The buzz around the squad is fantastic. There is enthusiasm and energy and the whole thing has gone up a notch. That has shown on the pitch, so Tom's injury is a bitter blow."

Source: PA