Michael Carrick says Manchester United's refocused winning mentality in the second half of the season has been the key to setting up an opportunity to clinch a 20th league title against Aston Villa tonight.
The Reds notched 45 goals in 18 matches in a pre-Christmas run containing thrills and spills in abundance, but Carrick is more impressed with the team's steely focus, as evidenced in 11 victories from 12 after Christmas Day leading up to a first league defeat of 2013 in the Manchester derby.
“Sometimes at the start of the season [your form] can be unpredictable,” he tells tonight’s United Review. “After Christmas it settles down, we refocus again after Christmas. You start that run towards home and your mindset changes almost without you realising it.
“At the start of the season you have to be ready and focused, but there’s something in the air here when you turn for that finish line; it’s part of the mentality. That’s not to say we’re relaxed or taking it easy at the start of the season and the way the league is now from the word go you have got to be at it.
“You can’t lose too many games or drop too many points, but when you swing around past Christmas every game seems to get bigger and
"We refocus again after Christmas. You start that run towards home and your mindset changes. There’s something in the air here when you turn for that finish line; it’s part of the mentality."
- Michael Carrick