FOOTBALL NEWS

"I came here hoping to win things and be successful. Thankfully, so far, that has been the case."

- Michael Carrick
22/12/2008 17:18, Report by Adam Bostock & Gemma Thompson
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Carrick eyes Christmas win

Michael Carrick wants only one thing for Christmas... a Boxing Day win against Stoke City as the globe-trotting Reds return to the Barclays Premier League.

By quarter to one on Friday, the United midfielder expects the euphoria - and hopefully any fatigue - from winning the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan to have worn off.

"Once we get back home, we move on," Carrick told ManUtd.com and PA Sport.

"The Club World Cup will be gone and we'll have had three or four days to readjust so there will be no excuses if we don't win on Boxing Day.

"Going back to England will be slightly easier than going out to Japan. A few of the lads were struggling badly with jet-lag over there but as the week went on, we got used to it."

Carrick and company won't just be dealing with a different timezone on their return to domestic football - the type of opposition will also contrast with the challenge faced in Asia.

"Stoke will be different to Quito," he says, referring to the Club World Cup final.

"We know Stoke will be tough. They have a decent home record and they will not make it easy for us at all. It will be a battle and they will probably come at us a little bit more than Quito did tonight. But we are going there to win the game."

Although a draw at Stoke would be acceptable for most people after the exertions of the past week, Carrick knows United really have to win to keep pace with the league leaders.

"We are not too disappointed with where we are at the moment," says Michael, "but it's up to us to keep winning and applying the pressure.

"We have to build on our success in 2008 and not just settle for it. The manager keeps driving at us to win more. Success breeds success, hopefully that continues."

If it does continue, then Carrick's third season at Old Trafford could yet top his first two campaigns in which he won the league title (2006/07) and then the double of title and the Champions League (2007/08).

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