Michael Carrick admits Manchester United made a shocking start to the season, but he believes things are now certainly on the up.
The champions were rocked in the summer when Sir Alex Ferguson announced he was finally retiring, after 26 largely glittering years at the helm. David Moyes was appointed as his successor, but the former Everton boss made a stuttering start to life at Old Trafford with three defeats in his first six Premier League matches.
This inevitably led to suggestions that the Scot was already under pressure, but since the home loss to West Bromwich Albion in September, the Reds have bounced back in style. They have now gone nine matches unbeaten in all competitions, whilst the 1-0 win against Arsenal on Sunday has lifted them back in the title race.
Carrick admits he and his team-mates made a ‘shocking’ start to the season, which also included defeats at Liverpool and Manchester City and a home draw against Chelsea, but he feels the triumph over the Gunners proves they are back on track. And as they are just five points off the pace, he believes their patience has paid off.
“After a shocking start we are not in a bad position,” said Carrick. “We never really got too despondent. We were frustrated with our performances and results but you have to stay patient and trust yourself. We knew there was a long way to go and there still is. A few weeks ago we probably didn’t think we would be in this position as quickly.”
Carrick, meanwhile, has been forced to withdraw from the England squad for the friendlies against Chile and Germany due to a persistent Achilles problem which will keep him out of contention for United for a period of at least six weeks. As a key member of their starting XI, the loss of the 32-year-old will be a huge blow for Moyes.
It will, however, offer an opportunity for Tom Cleverley and, in particular, Marouane Fellaini to step up to the plate. The Belgian international has failed to live up to expectations following his £27million summer move from Everton, yet the 25-year-old would be expected to excel in the defensive midfield role in the absence of Carrick.