Carrick wants United to focus on defining moment

Michael Carrick has told his Manchester United team-mates to put their disappointing week behind them as they prepare for a run of five games in 15 days which will define their season.

Updated: April 22, 2011 11:02 IST
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Manchester: Michael Carrick has told his Manchester United team-mates to put their disappointing week behind them as they prepare for a run of five games in 15 days which will define their season.

Having seen their treble charge ended by Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals last Saturday, Sir Alex Ferguson's Premier League leaders dropped two points after being held to a goalless draw at Newcastle on Tuesday.

Despite those setbacks, United remain well placed to win a record 19th title and they will go nine points clear of second-placed Chelsea, for a few hours at least, if they win Saturday's early match against Everton at Old Trafford.

The visit of in-form Everton marks the start of a busy period of matches which will determine whether United regain the title and also succeed in the Champions League.

Ferguson's side fly to Germany to take on Schalke on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final before meeting title rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on May 1.

That fixture is quickly followed by the return leg against Schalke in Manchester on May 4 before Chelsea visit Old Trafford on May 8.

By the end of that game Carrick knows United could be standing on the brink of an impressive double.

"We are still in a good position," Carrick said. "We just roll on. That is what we want to be doing, playing in the big games coming thick and fast.

"We have got tough games ahead, but they (Arsenal and Chelsea) have got tough games too. We don't want to be looking at results too much, we want to be winning games ourselves."

United striker Michael Owen could also have a part to play after spending much of the season on the bench.

With United drawing a blank in their last two matches, Owen - who came off the bench in the closing stages at Newcastle - represents an experienced option for Ferguson.

Owen has extra motivation to help United over the finish line in the title race as the former Liverpool star has never won the Premier League.

"Being successful and winning things was the main draw in signing for Manchester United," he said.

"I have been at big clubs throughout my career, challenging for honours but have never been in as good a position at this stage of the season as we are now.

"I have enjoyed my time at United immensely. Unfortunately, I haven't played as many games as I would have liked but being around such good players and coaches helps you enjoy it even more."

Everton will be no push-overs. David Moyes's side arrive at Old Trafford unbeaten in seven games of which five have ended in victory.

Although Everton have not won at Old Trafford for 19 years, United have found recent encounters against their Merseyside opponents tough going.

Back in September, United appeared to be coasting to a 3-1 win at Goodison Park before stoppage time goals by Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta earned the hosts a dramatic point.

Seven months earlier, United were beaten 3-1 at Everton, who also defeated Ferguson's men on penalties in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley in April 2009.

And Everton's former United keeper Tim Howard believes the leaders will be wary of Moyes' team on Saturday.

"The way we're going, they won't take us lightly," United States goalkeeper Howard said.

"It would be massive to go to Old Trafford and get a result because not many teams go there and do it.

"Although it'll be hard we'll give everything. They will take it to us but we feel good about ourselves."

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