Belfast Telegraph

Carrick new deal is perfect lift as LVG takes aim at Pool

By Paul Hirst

Michael Carrick has signed a one-year contract extension at Manchester United.

Carrick has been one of Louis van Gaal's best players since he returned from an ankle injury he suffered last summer.

The 33-year-old's contract was due to run out in June, but the club confirmed that the midfielder had extended his current deal by 12 months.

United manager Van Gaal was delighted that his vice-captain had committed his future to the club.

"He is for me my second captain behind Wayne Rooney and he can also read the game as a team player so that's very important," Van Gaal said.

"He has also an excellent pass forward. I like as a manager passes forward so that's very important for me.

"He is an important part of my selection."

Carrick scored the second and set up Marouane Fellaini for the opener in United's 3-0 win over Tottenham last Sunday.

After eight months of trying, everything finally clicked into place for Van Gaal's men.

They played with width, pace, and flair as they swept three goals past Hugo Lloris in little over 35 minutes.

Van Gaal was delighted with his team's performance, but he says it will count for nothing unless his men beat Liverpool in Sunday's grudge match at Anfield.

"We played very good in the first half and it was also good to have an evaluation that is very positive," the Dutchman said.

"It's also good for the players. But it says nothing when you lose the next match, but the next match is against Liverpool and Liverpool is not the ground that Manchester United has won a lot (at) so when we show it again in Liverpool then we are a little bit further (along), I believe."

Meanwhile, Van Gaal thinks Premier League teams are failing in Europe because there is no winter break in English football.

The Premier League has no representatives in the Champions League quarter-finals for the second time in three seasons.

Just six years ago, three English teams made the last four, although Manchester United failed to lift the trophy in the final after defeat to Barcelona.

Van Gaal, who won the trophy with Ajax 20 years ago, has managed in Holland, Spain and Germany.

"We have to play four or five matches in two weeks and they have a break of two weeks," the United manager said.

"How many matches have Bayern Munich played in the meantime, for example? That's the difference.

"They are much fresher than players of Arsenal or Chelsea."

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