Thursday 14 December 2017

Carrick: Spurs record means nothing

United midfielder wary of Tottenham but confident Reds can mount title bid

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick fears former club Tottenham Hotspur may have their best chance yet of ending their Old Trafford jinx tonight.

But the England international is confident United can rise to the challenge to maintain their proud home record against the Londoners in the Premier League.

Spurs have not won at United's ground in the competition since its inception in 1992 but the White Hart Lane-based club now boast one of their best sides for years.

Having finished fourth to qualify for the Champions League last term, Spurs are again riding high in fifth and boast two of the country's most in-form players in Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart.

United, while being two points better off, have not been at their most clinical this term and Harry Redknapp's men may sense an opportunity.

Carrick, who moved from White Hart Lane in an £18.6m deal four years ago, said: "Records like that won't affect the game.

"If we've had a bad time somewhere, we go into it as a fresh game. It's all new.

"We need to be on our guard because it's a big test. They're playing well and have had some great results.

"They've got such a strong squad that it's going to be a challenge, but we rise to challenges. Hopefully we do that again."

After an indifferent spell, United have won their last three matches in all competitions and Newcastle-born Carrick feels it is important now for the club to build momentum.

The 29-year-old said: "We need to focus on putting a good run together.

"But you can't look too far ahead and start planning how your run will pan out.

"We've got a huge game against Spurs and we're focused on that first, but around the camp the atmosphere is bubbly and the lads are happy."

Edwin van der Sar will take his place in goal a day after celebrating his 40th birthday.

The veteran former Holland international -- with errors, such as his high-profile gaffe against West Brom a fortnight ago, still a rarity -- remains a firm fixture in the United side.

United were linked with Liverpool's Jose Reina as a potential replacement earlier this week but manager Alex Ferguson feels Van der Sar is still going strong.

"Absolutely brilliant, incredible," Ferguson said.

"He has gone on because he has prepared his whole life to being a top player.

"His preparation, training, standard of life -- everything has been geared to staying in the game as long as he has.

"We haven't spoken about it (the future) but I think he is enjoying football at the moment and let him continue."

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