Michael Carrick speaks exclusively to ManUtd.com ahead of the eagerly-awaited derby...
Monday's match is essentially a Premier League final, isn’t it?
I don’t think so, no. Whatever happens, the title race won’t be over at the final whistle. Obviously we’re the two main contenders and this is going to be a big three points, but there will still be two games left to play. And the way the last couple of weeks have gone, I don’t think you can look at the derby as a decider. Who knows what might still happen? We can only look at this game as an opportunity to win three points. Don’t get me wrong: it would be a massive step towards the title if we win, but it won’t hand us the trophy.
I guess the latest twists prove you can’t take anything for granted...
That’s right. Every time we’ve won the league since I’ve been here it’s gone right down to the last couple of games. We’ve never won it with loads of games to spare. It just doesn’t happen. Throughout the season you drop points and you can drop points at any time. We went on an incredible run after Christmas and put ourselves into a good position. And we’re still in a good position. We’re three points in front with three games to go. I think some people have forgotten that!
How disappointing was it to let Everton back into the game?
It was disappointing, yeah. There’s no getting away from that. But you have to bounce back and move on. It was a bit of a freakish game, to be honest. Certainly, I’ve never been involved in a game like that with United where we draw 4-4 at home after being in such a commanding position. We were all disappointed after the game but you have to pick yourself up and move on. We could be in worse positions, you know. We’re still top of the league and in the driving seat.
What do you expect from the derby - will it be tense?
Who knows! Sometimes they can be cagey and then sometimes you can get a few sparks early on. Somebody could get an early goal or there could be a big incident that opens the game right up. We just have to go there and play like we know we can, while at the same time making sure we deal with their threats because they have players who can hurt you. In terms of how the game’s going to pan out, it’s impossible to say.