Michael Carrick knows it has been far “too long” since Manchester United last won the FA Cup – a drought the vice-captain is determined to end this season.
Louis van Gaal’s under-fire side start a make-or-break week by welcoming West Ham to Old Trafford in the quarter-final tie on Sunday.
The home leg of the Europa League last-16 clash with Liverpool follows, then a crunch Premier League game against Manchester City, but halting a run of back-to-back defeats is the main priority.
United have not won the FA Cup since 2004 and it is the only major domestic trophy to elude Carrick.
“We are hugely determined and it is a great opportunity for us,” the veteran England midfielder said ahead of Sunday’s quarter-final.
“Obviously West Ham have been great this season and have gone further in this competition than they have for some time.
“In the league their form has been amazing, especially from what they might have expected at the start of the season.
“It is going to be a tough game for us. It was a tough one earlier on in the season at home (when we drew 0-0) and we expect something similar on Sunday.”
Carrick started his career at West Ham, scoring six goals in 159 appearances before swapping Upton Park for Tottenham in 2004.
The 34-year-old moved onto United two years after that and ended his first campaign by appearing in his first – and so far only – FA Cup final.
Carrick accepts United were “not quite good enough” as Chelsea secured a 1-0 extra-time win that day – a missed opportunity that does not rankle, even if the wait to make another final does.
“It has been too long since we won the FA Cup,” he told United Review
“Before our last success (in 2004), we had won a number of FA Cups and it seems such a long time that we haven’t been able to get our hands on it.
“I have said before, we need to put that right and this club needs to be winning things.”
It could well prove Carrick’s last shot at a trophy with United, given his contract expires in the summer and Thursday’s 2-0 loss at Liverpool has severely dented their Europa League hopes.
It would be a fitting end to the midfielder’s time at Old Trafford, whereas for Matteo Darmian the FA Cup provides a chance to end a bumpy debut season in English football with silverware.
The 26-year-old arrived from Torino last summer and is dreaming of reaching the Wembley finale.
“It would be fantastic,” Darmian said. “I think for us it’s a great chance to win an important trophy. That is our focus.
“Every game is difficult, but we are Manchester United and we have to win as many games as possible.
“That is what we are trying to do and hopefully we can get the victory on Sunday.”
Let’s block ads! (Why?)