herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Carrick: United have mental edge

Midfielder claims rivals rattled by Bridge heroics

MICHAEL CARRICK claims Manchester United's fightback against Chelsea will have a psychological impact on the title race by "denting" the morale of their rivals at the top of the Premier League.

Despite manager Alex Ferguson claiming that his team dropped two points by failing to win at Chelsea, securing a point after falling 3-0 behind enabled United to keep pace with leaders Manchester City.

They opened up the possibility of going top with a victory at home to Liverpool on Saturday, 24 hours before City's trip to Aston Villa.

With long-term leaders City losing at Everton last Tuesday, United have been able to close the gap to two points on Roberto Mancini's team, who they face at the Etihad Stadium in a potential title decider on April 28.

And Carrick insists that the late comeback at Chelsea will have had as much impact in the dressing rooms of their closest challengers as it does at Old Trafford.

"I think other teams who were watching that and seeing us go 3-0 down, would have been thinking what a good afternoon it's been for them," Carrick said.

"Then for us to come, back in the manner we did might give them a little dent and a boost for us.

"We were slightly disappointed in the end. Obviously, when you're 3-0 down and have your backs against the wall, if someone offers you a point then you'll be happy with that.

"But getting a third goal with a fair bit of the game to go, we fancied ourselves to go on and win it.

"There's a lot of positivity, but there's still that little tinge of maybe we could have won."

United's ability to turn a seemingly inevitable defeat into a draw was largely based on Wayne Rooney's two successful penalties in the second half.



Intensive

The England forward faced Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, having missed his last two penalties against City and Bolton, but Rooney claims that intensive practice in training ensured he had no intention of relinquishing spot-kick responsibilities.

Rooney said: "I have missed my last two penalties, but the manager asked me if I wanted to continue and there was no doubt in my mind I would.

"I am a confident player and have been practising penalties for the last two or three years. There was no doubt in my mind I was going to score."

Meanwhile, Chelsea defender Gary Cahill has admitted that conceding a 3-0 lead on his debut for the club was "sickening".

Cahill, a £7million signing from Bolton, said: "I have mixed emotions because it is really sickening to draw, but obviously it was a great moment to make my debut."

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