Michael Carrick isn’t ready to applaud Manchester United for their top-four finish in the Premier League this season, as the influential midfielder believes the club should be aiming higher.The Red Devils are back in the Champions League and enter the competition at the playoff stage, but the midfielder believes the club must do better next season. He is adamant that the club’s return to Champions League football was ‘not worth celebrating’.
The 2014-15 season was very much like the time for a rebound following the fallen Manchester giants after the club finished seventh the previous season under David Moyes.In Louis van Gaal’s first campaign in charge at Old Trafford, United bounced back from a disappointing seventh-placed finish, cost the coachfor less than a year after replacing Alex Ferguson.
In contrast, the Premier League rival Arsenal, who finished fourth six times in the last 10 seasons, became accustomed to excessively celebrating their top four status and the club’s hierarchy.
United now face a Champions League playoff tie to enter the group stages of the competition, but Carrick believes the club should always be challenging for the title and qualifying automatically. He, though, is only interested in celebrating trophies.
“It’s an achievement but, listen, it’s not that great,” said Carrick in an interview for the club’s end-of-season review DVD.Finishing seventh was a real blip and it was a one-off. This club belongs in the Champions League and we can’t get too carried away with making it because we should be there anyway.”
Carrick admitted it was ‘hard to say’ whether United would challenge for the Premier League title next season but feels the team’s winning mentality has not changed.United are set to learn their Champions League playoff opponents on August 7, with the first leg taking place in the week commencing August 17.
While the 33-year-old England international wasn’t in a congratulatory mood in regards to the season, he did save some praise for United boss Louis Van Gaal, who he credits for supporting him through injury early on. Carrick lost his campaign early as he sustained thigh injury which forced him to be out of pitch for three months.
The midfielder mentioned that van Gall was good with him from day one. “He said, ‘don’t worry about the injury, just get yourself fit.’ He’s a big character, he’s been in the game a long time and he’s seen a lot of things, so he’s got a lot to give to the squad,” added Carrick.