Michael Carrick says the modus operandi – not to mention the opposition – made victory in the Carling Cup semi-final all the sweeter.
The midfielder looked to have cued up a comfortable finish at Old Trafford when his goal made it 2-0 on the night, 3-2 on aggregate, to the dominant home side. But plain sailing isn’t the United way, as Michael has learned – and enjoyed – in his time at the club.
“We could have finished it off earlier when we were in a commanding position but to win it like we did (in injury time) makes for a very special night,” Carrick told MUTV.
“The place was bouncing and we’ve sent everyone home happy on the red side.
“There was a lot riding on the game tonight, playing against City with the chance to get to a final bit we’ve come through it and we’re delighted.
“Our dressing room was a happy place to be.”
Carrick’s neat finish following a link-up between Nani and Darren Fletcher was his second goal in a Manchester derby – “my first one didn’t mean as much because we lost, so this one was a bit more special” – and he admitted he could have had another.
“We were playing well in the second half, on the front foot and creating opportunities. I missed a good chance to score what would have been my second goal (of the night) so when Wazza scored, it saved me a bit!”
Carrick heaped praise on the man who spared his blushes and booked United’s passage to Wembley, saying: “He (Wayne Rooney) is awesome.
“He just keeps improving. When I first came to the club, I thought he was a great player. But three years on he’s improved again. He just gets better and better.
“All credit to him because he’s taken on more responsibility up top and not only is he scoring goals, he’s creating them for others.
“He’s doing everything you could possibly ask of him. Let’s hope it continues until May.”