Michael Carrick has been discussing Manchester United’s top four hopes in the aftermath of Thursday night’s 0-0 draw with Manchester City.
Jose Mourinho’s men began brightly, placing Man City’s back four under pressure through the pace of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, before fading in influence as the home side started to dominate possession.
The draw at the Ethiad – the first since 2010 – takes them to within two points of third-placed Liverpool, who have played a game more.
And Carrick, speaking after the game, noted that the point against Pep Guardiola’s men could turn out to be crucial.
“We went to City believing that we could get more, but as the game panned out, you just have to show a different side,” he said.
“I think the boys defended well, we got stuck in and stuck at it. That point could count for an awful lot.
“Credit to the boys. It’s never easy when you have got injuries to key players. But everyone who has come in has done well and it shows how important the squad is for the season.
“You need every player and we would like more to choose from going into Sunday, of course, but we will dig deep and go again on Sunday and we will be ready.
“It’s what we do. It’s what we are here for. It’s not ideal, but no excuses, we will have to be ready for Sunday. It’s a massive game.”
This could indeed prove to be a valuable point for Man United. They will claim a place in the top four if they win their remaining five games; their fate, after months of waiting for other sides to slip up, is now firmly in their hands.
Everything remains up for grabs: a third place finish and a Europa League win is well within the realms of possibility, but so is the prospect of finishing sixth and failing to claim the Europa League. It promises to be a defining last few weeks.