Michael Carrick says Manchester United would not celebrate a top-four finish this season, telling the Daily Mirror: “You only celebrate when you win.”
United did not finish below third in the Premier League during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign, but they have finished seventh, fourth and fifth in the seasons since his retirement after winning the 2012-13 title.
Jose Mourinho’s side are currently sixth in the table, only two points behind the Champions League playoff spot, but Carrick said: “It’s not something we’d celebrate, if we finished third, fourth or even second.
“You only celebrate when you win, but the Champions League is a big part of this club.
“It’s where you want to play, it’s where the best players want to play, so in terms of attracting players and all that type of stuff, the club is geared up for that, of course it is, but you can only celebrate winning, really, and finishing top.”
He added: “The top-four has got to be the bare minimum, really.”
The 35-year-old, who joined United from Tottenham in 2006, communicated certainty that Mourinho was recovering the club on track after their battles under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
“We’re playing great however and we’ve been truly steady over a significant drawn out stretch of time,” he said. “Each administrator has got his own particular manner of getting things done, how they see the amusement, what to do in specific circumstances and general reasoning of how to assemble a group.
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“I think everybody concurs, assaulting astute, we look significantly more unsafe and energizing this year. We’ve scored significantly more objectives and it’s an alternate style of play now. There’s a certainty and a conviction that most likely originates from playing so well over a drawn out stretch of time and getting great outcomes.
“It’s about building energy, which is something you can’t accomplish in a week or a month or two. It requires investment however I believe we’re arriving. Despite everything we have an approach, however it positively feels like it’s going in the correct heading.”