Carrick's Champions League mission
Michael Carrick is desperate to reach another Champions League final in order to erase the memories from the worst night of his career. Having got their campaign back on track with an excellent away win in Valencia last time out, United are now facing up to a double-header with Bursaspor. The Turkish champions have yet to register a point in their first entrance into the elite European competition, and United are acutely aware back-to-back wins will be enough to hit the 10 point barrier Sir Alex Ferguson sets as the requirement for a place in the knockout stages. And, for Carrick, it would open the door to a place at Wembley on May 28, which he believes is the only place United can make amends for what went wrong against Barcelona two years previously. "Rome is the biggest disappointment I have had. It came and went and it was too late. It was gone," said Carrick. "The thing was, we were so much on top at the start. "Gerard Pique cleared one off the line and we had all the pressure. Then they scored and we know how it went after that. "The game just seemed to pass us by and we were unable to do anything about it. "I suppose when you look at the big picture, it was still another Champions League final. "But we know we did not do ourselves justice and we want to get there again to try and put it right." Carrick's observations back up the generally held view that defeats linger far longer at Old Trafford than victories. Only 12 months previously, the Reds had been able to enjoy the euphoria of Moscow, when Edwin van der Sar's penalty save denied Nicolas Anelka and gave United the most coveted club trophy in the game for a third time. Rome was a complete contrast, with utter desolation not providing the ideal backdrop for a truly forgettable post-match function. "It was pretty quiet for a good few hours afterwards," said Carrick. "You do try to get yourself round and look at the positives but it wasn't something I would like to go through again. "It was pretty horrible. Everyone felt the same way because the whole occasion had been such a let down." United were simply shellshocked last year when they stormed into a three-goal lead against Bayern Munich in their quarter-final, only to concede just before the interval, have full-back Rafael sent off immediately afterwards, then find themselves knocked out on away goals thanks to Arjen Robben's precision strike. It was a reminder of just how competitive the Champions League has become and explains why Ferguson will be taking nothing for granted at Old Trafford on Wednesday after dropping two points in unexpected fashion against Rangers in their opening game. With most of his first-team squad available, Ferguson will look to spread the load and Javier Hernandez might be hopeful of a start after his goal proved decisive at the Mestalla to give United a rare win in Spain three weeks ago. Will United beat Bursaspor? Have your say.
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