Michael Carrick has insisted that his Manchester United side would not celebrate reaching the top four this season.
It was thought by many that, having claimed just two wins from September to early December, Man United would miss out on Champions League football next season, with a 1-1 draw with Everton leaving Jose Mourinho’s men nine points adrift.
However, following a resurgence over the Christmas period, United sit just two points behind fourth placed Arsenal and five off second spot.
But Carrick, speaking to the Mirror, made it clear that the squad would not celebrate anything less than a title triumph.
“It’s not something we’d celebrate, if we finished third, fourth or even second,” he said.
“You only celebrate when you win, but the Champions League is a big part of this club. It’s where you want to play, it’s where the best players want to play.
“So in terms of attracting players and all that type of stuff, the club is geared up for that, of course it is, but you can only celebrate winning, really, and finishing top.
“In terms of the top-four, you can’t say it’s unthinkable not to make it because it’s there,’ he said. ‘You’ve got to achieve it, you’ve got to earn it.”
United will always be a club of standards. Sir Alex Ferguson left behind a legacy that demanded not just an emphatic style, but indeed emphatic results as well.
Reaching the top four is an important achievement, granted, but the notion that such a feat merits any form of celebration betrays the very character of this football club. Other sides – Arsenal springs to mind – would visualise qualification for the Champions League as a legitimate end goal, but such a mentality would not be found under Mourinho’s tutelage.