Carrick: We’re over final pain

The Red Devils begin another quest to conquer club football’s
number one competition on Tuesday when they tackle legendary
Portuguese outfit Benfica at the Stadium of Light. Their aim is
clear: finding a way to match the Catalans, who completely
outclassed United as they romped to victory at Wembley. It is a
subject that has vexed many United fans throughout the summer. But
Carrick is not sure such introspection is of any great value. “The
Champions League final doesn’t still hurt,” said the 30-year-old.
“It was disappointing because we lost the final but it wasn’t a
massive failure. “I haven’t watched it again. I went on my holidays
and focused on this season. “You have to accept they were good. It
is up to us to be better.” The quest looks a lot more positive than
it did at the start of summer thanks to the infusion of so many
electrifying young talents into Sir Alex Ferguson’s team. It has
helped contribute to Carrick, amongst others, being reduced to a
peripheral role during United’s rocket-propelled start to the
campaign. The most notable team-mate of Carrick’s who has yet to
have any significant involvement is last season’s Golden Boot
winner, Dimitar Berbatov. However, Park Ji-sung, Ryan Giggs, Darren
Fletcher and Antonio Valencia have also been rarely seen, the
latter duo not even getting a place on the bench so far. That is
all likely to change on Tuesday, with Ferguson vowing to give his
more experienced campaigners a run out. Carrick understands why he
has had to be so patient. It is not just Ferguson who has been
enthused by the contribution of the younger players. He has felt
the same emotions. And though Tom Cleverley’s four-week absence
with damaged ligaments has offered a route back to the first team,
the Geordie is disappointed at his team-mate’s extended absence.
“The young lads have come out flying,” said Carrick. “It is great
to see them bursting through. The buzz around the squad is
fantastic. “There is enthusiasm and energy and the whole thing has
gone up a notch. That has shown on the pitch, so Tom’s injury is a
bitter blow.”