We're at the point of no return, says Manchester United's Michael Carrick

21 February 2009 01:58
There may be room for error in Manchester United

's Barclays Premier League campaign - but Michael Carrick admits they have reached the point of no return as far as the Champions League is concerned.  

Having established a stranglehold in the title race, United can move on to Tuesday's European showdown with Serie A leaders Inter Milan with a degree of confidence.

Not that going toe to toe with any side managed by Jose Mourinho can be approached in cavalier fashion.  

Important time: Michael Carrick says United are ready for the challenge



The Red Devils got it exactly right 12 months ago when they breezed past Lyon, Roma and Barcelona before emerging victorious in a dramatic late-night penalty shoot-out with Chelsea in Moscow. 

But Carrick realises that success will count for nothing when the leaders of England meet their Italian counterparts. 

'One bad game in the Champions League and you can suffer,' said Carrick. 'The Carling Cup Final is the same next weekend.  

To win the league is hard enough. To win the Champions League, you need things to go your way as it did at important times last season.'

It would be the perfect time for Cristiano Ronaldo to rediscover top form given Mourinho has claimed Inter have the best player in the world at present in Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 





Yet there are other contenders on the United side too. Most Red Devils fans would not swap Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes for anyone in their current form.  

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And with the addition of Gary Neville, who will not be fit to face Inter, Carrick feels the veteran trio provide the lead for everyone else at United to follow.  

'They are a massive influence on everyone,' said Scholes. 'I don't know whether the lads are aware of it, but it is just the way they are. They give advice and lead by example. They have been here so long they know what is required. 

'As a new arrival at the club you just try to follow their lead. 

'But it is not easy because they have set the standards so high over the years and are still doing it now. They are true legends at this club.'  

Carrick may be quite a way behind in the trophy stakes, having only moved north from Tottenham for £18.6million in 2006.  

However, two Premier League titles as well as last season's European success tells its own story about how United have benefited from Carrick's contribution. 

It is part of the reason why Arsene Wenger, whose own 'Invincibles' swept to the title unbeaten five seasons ago feels the Red Devils are the 'Untouchables'.  

Not that Carrick likes the description. For the England star it smacks of arrogance, which is not something he is interested in, even though United have plenty to be arrogant about.  

'Invincibility is a strong word in football and it is a bit too much really,' he said.   'Obviously we are confident of doing well but we are well aware that football can slap you in the face. 

'We are doing well but we need to keep doing what we have been in recent months.

'It sounds boring but we are not getting carried away because there is still a long way to go in all competitions.'



 

Source: Daily_Mail