herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Barca loss is history for United - Carrick

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 top competition tomorrow when they tackle Portuguese outfit Benfica at the Stadium of Light.

Their aim is clear -- find a way to match the Catalans, who completely outclassed United as they romped to victory at Wembley last season. It is a subject that has vexed many United fans throughout the summer. But Carrick (pictured below) is not sure such introspection is of any value.

"The Champions League final doesn't still hurt," said the 30-year-old. "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 the summer thanks to the infusion of so many electrifying young talents into Alex Ferguson's team.

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



Involvement

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.

That is all likely to change tomorrow, 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 too.

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 absence. Carrick said: "(He) has shown on the pitch (what he can do), so Tom's injury is a bitter blow."

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