FOOTBALL NEWS

22/11/2012 23:00, Report by Gemma Thompson
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Carrick: First goal crucial

It's been the season of comebacks for the Reds this term, but Michael Carrick says it's vital United start taking the initiative in games rather than having to claw their way back into them.

The Reds have lost the first goal yet come back to win in eight of their 19 games this season. While the recoveries have been as dramatic as they have been impressive at times, Carrick insists going behind first is a habit that needs to be broken sooner rather than later.

"It is not ideal - it is just a phase we are going through," the midfielder told reporters after United's defeat in Galatasaray. "The positive is that we have come back and we have scored enough goals, although not on Saturday, so we have got things to improve upon.

"We conceded the first goal [at Norwich] and it was difficult to come back - and again against Galatasaray. Over the season we have managed to do it [come from behind to win] but it is not ideal and you can't do it all the time. We need to make things a lot easier for ourselves by scoring the first goal and play from there.

"It's hard to say [why it's happening] to be honest," he added. "I'll go with the boss and say concentration. I agree with him. It is hard to put your finger on it.

"It is different things, different types of goals we are conceding, so it is not as if there is one particular problem. But I'm sure we can put it right. We have had issues in the past and put them right and overall we are not in bad shape."

Getting back to winning ways is the team's main priority after back-to-back defeats at home and abroad. Bottom-of-the-table QPR visit Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon and Carrick admits he has been surprised by their plight this season.

"[I'm surprised], but it is a hard league and sometimes when you buy players and early in the season a couple of results don't go for you, it suddenly becomes harder to win a game.

"I've been there myself with West Ham. I know how difficult it can be. We had a good squad of players but for whatever reason, it just didn't work for us that season.

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