Michael Carrick: Man United not getting carried away in Champions League
Michael Carrick insists Manchester United are focused on the task at hand ahead of Tuesday's clash with Braga at Old Trafford
Michael Carrick insists Manchester United are taking nothing for granted ahead of their Champions League clash with Braga at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
The Red Devils currently top Group H after having claimed maximum points from their opening two games as they look to win their fourth European crown.
United were made to pay for their errors in last season’s group stage as they ended up third in the table and were parachuted down into the Europa League.
And Carrick knows Sir Alex Ferguson’s men must be fully focused against Tuesday night’s opposition if they are to cement their place at the top of their group and take another step towards the knockout rounds.
“We are not getting carried away,” Carrick told PA Sport and United’s website. “We cannot afford to think that just because we have had a good start it is going to be an easy ride. That is not the case
“It could come back and bite us. We will go into this game [against Braga] like any other and just look to put ourselves in an even better position without looking too far ahead.
“It can be quite tough in the Champions League to judge [who will qualify from each group]. Some people might pick out two teams in a group and say they will be the top two and the others will struggle. Quite a lot of the time, that is not the case.
“It isn’t necessarily the teams that catch your eye [namewise] who are the ones that cause you problems. We know even in Cluj, it wasn’t straightforward. The lads had to play well to get a result. That is the nature of European football.
“Braga are a good team. You have to respect them for getting to this stage to start with. It is not easy in any league to go through the whole season near the top [and qualify for the Champions League].
“You have to respect them. They are going to be of a certain standard and we have to match it.”
Man United v Braga: Pre-match facts
• United have never lost at home to Portuguese opponents but Jose Peseiro’s Braga are on a seven-match unbeaten sequence on their travels in Europe.
• United’s home record against Portuguese teams is W8 D3 L0. In addition, they won the first of their three European Cups by beating Benfica 4-1 in the 1968 final at Wembley.
• United have won 100 games in the Champions League, group stage to final.
• Ryan Giggs has scored in a record 16 different Champions League seasons. He is also the competition’s oldest scorer, at 37 years and 289 days.