Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick says no-one at the club would celebrate a top-four finish in the Premier League at the end of the season.
Top four not enough
However, with Jose Mourinho’s side still competing in the Europa League as well as all the domestic cup competitions, the Red Devils would have to show extraordinary consistency over a long period between now and the end of the season to leapfrog the teams above them.
Despite the team’s current position – 14 points behind leaders Chelsea with 14 games remaining – Carrick, who was speaking to the Daily Mirror claimed “you only celebrate when you win,” explaining that “it’s not something we’d celebrate, if we finished third, fourth or even second.”
Although Carrick made his winning mentality evident, he also admitted the importance of playing in elite European competition, with the Reds competing in the lower-profile Europa League this term.
The 35-year-old said the Champions League is “where you want to play, it’s where the best players want to play,” and also explained that “in terms of attracting players and all that type of stuff, the club is geared up for that [qualifying for the Champions League].” However, he added that “you can only celebrate winning, really, and finishing top.”
The “bare minimum”
The five-time Premier League champion, although keen for more than just Champions League football, refused to rule out a top-four finish this season.
On breaking into the top four, Carrick claimed “you can’t say it’s unthinkable not to make it because it’s there,” and that the team has “everything there to give us the best chance of reaching that goal, but the top-four has got to be the bare minimum, really.”
Carrick rued the side’s “sticky patch” at the start of the season, and claimed the run they have since been on would have seen them rise up the table in other past campaigns, suggesting that “we’ve been pretty consistent over quite a long period of time.”
However, the midfielder was not downbeat on the team’s chances of returning to the Champions League next term.
The midfielder suggested “it’s about building momentum, which is something you can’t achieve in a week or a month or two,” and that “we’ve still got a way to go, but it certainly feels like it’s going in the right direction.”