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Carrick rallies Manchester United to win the Premier League next season

Manchester United captain Michael Carrick has suggested ahead of the first Manchester derby to be played abroad that it is the Premier League title or nothing for the Old Trafford club next season. United face Manchester City at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas in a matter of hours, the third match of the pre-season tour of the United States of America. United have made two summer signings in Victor Lindelof, a £30.7 million transfer from Benfica and Romelu Lukaku, a £75 million signing from Premier League side Everton. United are looking for more additions, but as manager Jose Mourinho has suggested, the market is tough with United seemingly missing out on Ivan Perisic, Nemanja Matic, Eric Dier and possibly even Fabinho, a player the club does not seem interested in signing, at this point of the summer anyway.

United had a rather successful first season under Jose Mourinho last term winning the FA Community Shield at the start of the season, the EFL Cup (now Carabao Cup) at the end of February and finishing the season lifting the UEFA Europa League, the first time United have lifted the trophy, winning everything they have been capable of winning as a club over the years. This season Mourinho’s side will be expected to challenge in the Premier League, winning it even, for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired from management at the end of the 2012/13 season. The past four years have been considered failures for United, not competing in the Premier League, which is what all supporters crave for. Last season showed United can have the winning mentality again, something which will need to return come the start of the season proper.

Carrick, the new club captain after Wayne Rooney departed for Everton nearly a fortnight ago, has suggested that he does not want his club to be one who celebrates finishing fourth in the league, only celebrating by lifting that famous trophy in May, which is what United will be dreaming about this coming season. Since Ferguson left management, United finishing as champions that season, the club has finished seventh, fourth, fifth and sixth in the Premier League, failing to challenge those teams above them, which has seen the club falter in the league. Saying that United have won three major trophies since Ferguson left, which is not bad considering the club have failed to compete and since Mourinho became the manager, the winning mentality has started to return, along with a little help from new signings; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has now left the club. Carrick, reported by The Mirror, talked about winning the league, saying:

“I can’t get my head round that, to say the top-four is acceptable. I know we’ve had changes and adjusted as players have come in and out, and you can’t expect to win the league every year, but you’ve got to set out to do that. It’s all about winning things.

“In some ways, it’s winning the league or nothing. It’s another one gone by if you haven’t won it. That’s the way I see it. We can’t be sat here saying, ­‘Finishing in the top four is a step up from last season’. That’s not what we’re about here.

“We need to be aiming for the top. It’s a big club, this — a beast of a football club. I think it has [consumed certain players] over the years. We can all see that. There is a certain level of ­expectation, standards and ­scrutiny, that you probably don’t get elsewhere.”

Carrick has won many trophies whilst playing for Manchester United, nearly sweeping the board with just the UEFA Super Cup missing from his list of achievements. The main factor which annoys the captain is that United have not challenged in the Premier League since Ferguson left, which is a poor showing and partly down to management, playing style and even certain players, some who have now left the club. The captain has confirmed that the change at the club has left everything needing to settle, which is starting to happen and once it does, United should rise from where they currently are with their heads held high ready to take on the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal aiming to break into the top four this coming season, gaining some momentum and winning that trophy for the fourteenth time in May. Carrick said:

“There’s been a lot of change at the club. When that ­happens, sometimes it takes a lot of time for people to find their feet. There have been times in the league when standards have dropped, there’s no ­hiding from that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get back there again, if you keep doing the right things.

“I know we haven’t done great in the league, but we’ve still managed to win things. After the FA Cup win, for this new squad, to get that winning feeling is important. You can’t underestimate how important that can be. We managed to build on that last season. We won the Europa League, the EFL Cup and now we’re back in the Champions League.”

Carrick also talked about Mourinho being the natural successor to Ferguson, which does seem like the case at this moment in time as there is some confidence about the team, which goes a long way in sending them in the right direction aiming to reach their dreams by lifting that Premier League or even the UEFA Champions League trophy again, which is what Mourinho will want to do as the manager, earning his name on the list of successful managers to grace the dugout at Old Trafford and beyond. Mourinho is a winner, he wants his teams to be winners and that should go a long way to instill the winning mentality into his players, which has started to come through, which did show itself last season in three competitions if you could the Community Shield as such. Carrick spoke about Ferguson and Mourinho, saying:

“They’re quite different ­personalities, but of course they’ve both got that drive and desire to win, which is all that matters. Everywhere Jose’s been, he’s won. He’s a winner. He’s done it in different ways, his sides have played different styles, but he’s always found a way to win.

“Even last year, we weren’t at our best for parts of the season, but found a way to win trophies. That’s the biggest thing I can say about him – he’s a winner and his desire and drive to win rubs off on everyone.”

United have made some ground to getting to where they want to be, winning the Premier League title once again, possibly even the UEFA Champions League, which would be a fitting achievement for the manager and his team, but also something that many will suggest is beyond the remit of this Manchester United side, a bit like what was said when United needed to win the Europa League to earn a Champions League place this coming season, which was achieved. United do still have a long way to go in order to get to where they wanted to be after the retirement of Ferguson more than four years ago now, but with the mentality of the team returning to that swashbuckling one Ferguson ingrained into the side he managed, plus the hunger for the new players to earn their place in United history, it may not be long before we start to witness some great achievements at the Theatre of Dreams once again.

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