Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United's Goodison collapse is strictly a one-off: Carrick

Michael Carrick has said the only way to treat Manchester United' crushing defeat at Everton is as a one-off.

After roaring back into the Barclays Premier League title picture and registering one of their most famous European away wins over AC Milan, United headed to Goodison Park on Saturday in ebullient mood.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson made no attempt to hide the significance of the contest, feeling confident his side would give their usual destructive performance against the Toffees.

Instead, Ferguson was left aghast at a woeful second-half showing that consigned United to a 3-1 defeat and left them four points adrift of title rivals Chelsea, who took advantage a couple of hours later by winning at Wolves.

It leaves the Red Devils heading into what Ferguson describes as “squeaky-bum time” knowing victory over Chelsea at the beginning of April will not in itself be enough to clinch a fourth straight title.

“We were surprised at the performance on Saturday and hugely disappointed with the way the game went,” said Carrick.

“We have had some massive games in the last month and played really well over that period of time.

“That is why Saturday was such a shock. I suppose we have to look at it as a one-off.

“We are certainly not getting too down about things. We have to bounce back but the manner of our performances over the past few weeks leads us to believe we can do it again.”

Victory over West Ham at Old Trafford tonight would not make amends. However, it would provide a confidence boost ahead of Sunday's Carling Cup final against Aston Villa at Wembley.

Belfast Telegraph

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