Football

Carrick desperate for Europa glory

Veteran midfielder believes Mourinho can lead United to a third trophy this season

SEMI-FINAL, 2ND LEG
MAN UNITED CELTA VIGO
  • United lead 1-0 from first leg

Michael Carrick is "desperate" to end the season - and perhaps his Manchester United career - with Europa League glory.

Last week's 1-0 win in Spain puts Jose Mourinho's men in the driver's seat heading into the second leg of their semi-final against Celta Vigo at Old Trafford tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Carrick tasted continental triumph as part of United's triumphant Champions League side in 2008 and now has the Europa League in his cross hairs.

"I'm personally desperate to get to the final and to try and win it," said the 35-year-old, whose United contract expires this summer. "That's the only thing that matters.

"Whatever competition you're in, especially at this club, with the team we've got, we're looking to win it. It's a great opportunity.

"We'll respect who is left in the competition - it's not going to be easy and we're not taking anything for granted at all - but that's got to be the aim.

"There's nothing else that matters."

Carrick cannot wait to step out at Old Trafford - a stadium "made for big games" - tomorrow morning.

The experienced midfielder fondly recalled home Champions League wins against Barcelona and Roma and clearly believes United will soon be back at European's top table under Mourinho.

While United have struggled in the Premier League this term, the Portuguese could end his first season in the hotseat with a third trophy.

"He's a winner," Carrick told uefa.com. "He's won everywhere he's been, so that's almost enough.

"He's certainly got the respect of the players and everyone in football because he's been so successful.

"However he's done that, you've got to look and learn from it. He's like us - we all want to win and we all want to lift trophies."

United appeared to have no fresh fitness concerns as they trained yesterday.

The only senior players absent from the section of the session open to media at the Aon Training Complex were those expected not to feature - the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Ashley Young.

Marouane Fellaini is available for tomorrow morning's match at Old Trafford, having been ruled out of the 2-0 Premier League loss at Arsenal last Sunday by a domestic suspension.

Along with Fellaini, also taking part in yesterday's session was fellow midfielder Paul Pogba, shortly after Fifa announced it is examining the France international's £89-million (S$162.2m) transfer to United from Juventus last summer.

Celta must call upon their cup pedigree that saw them overcome Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of this season's Copa del Rey, a year after they had accounted for Atletico Madrid at the same stage of the tournament.

"It is still close," said Celta striker John Guidetti, who was formerly on the books of United's city rivals Manchester City.

"It is half-time. They are leading 1-0 and we have to go out and make the second half count.

"At the end of the day, if we go to Old Trafford and score the first goal, we are in the driver's seat because if we score another one, they have to score two." - WIRE SERVICES