England midfielder Michael Carrick had never experienced an end of season Manchester United dressing room in which there was no champagne soaked Premier League trophy to celebrate another title winning campaign – until last May. In the three years since his £18million move from Tottenham, the 28 year old had only known success at Old Trafford and is determined not to go through that feeling of ‘what might have been’ again.
Carrick revealed to the Daily Mirror that Sir Alex Ferguson was lost for words when United relinquished their three year stranglehold on the title but on the eve of a new campaign, he said that the priority for Sir Alex is to reclaim the title and lead United to a record breaking 19th championship success. Carrick described the feeling of desolation in the Old Trafford dressing room after Chelsea were confirmed champions and that memory is all the inspiration United need to win back the title.
“It was just empty really” he said “You’re just sitting there and don’t know what to do with yourself, thinking what might have been and what we might have done better. It wasn’t a nice feeling. I don’t think the manager said a great deal after the game. There’s not really a lot you can say at that time. No one feels good and at that time you just want next season to start so you can repair the damage”
The England international had a disappointing end of season with a series of sub standard performances but his display in the 3-1 defeat of Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley was encouraging for the new season. “When things aren’t going well you have to take it on the chin and bounce back” Carrick explained “when trophies are taken away it hurts and it hurts if you’re not out there playing but that’s the game.”
“The manager changes things and he does it for a reason” he continued “every player trusts in him and going into the new season everyone is raring to go. I’m as enthusiastic as ever to have a good season. You have great spells and they’re easier to take but the not so good spells are the test and I’ve had tough spells in the past, like getting relegated with West Ham and playing a year in the Championship. I managed to bounce back from that and after last season, hopefully I can bounce back again.”
Despite being omitted from the side by his manager in a number of matches last season, Carrick has total faith in the ability of Ferguson to lift his side “Normally, whether it’s on the pre season tour or before the season starts, the manager sits everyone down and has a chat to us, and when he talks like that everyone listens.” he said “It’s quite inspirational at times so if that doesn’t inspire you to do well I don’t know what manager will. He’s just got that aura about him that some people, but not many, have got.”
Carrick explained the reason why he was not named in Fabio Capello’s squad for the Hungary friendly in midweek. Although believed to have been injured, Carrick ended up playing for 80 minutes against Chelsea. “I twisted my ankle and thought I would be out at least two or three weeks” he said “but then I had the scan and there was no damage. It came back pretty quickly so I trained here on Saturday and once I’d trained the manager said I needed games so he put me in. It was just one of those things, a miscommunication.”
When Carrick says that he is determined not to go through that feeling of ‘what might have been’ again you had better believe him. The vast difference between the emotions of success and failure are too great for him to even contemplate.
Will Carrick rediscover the form he displayed in his three title winning seasons?