MANCHESTER. – Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has rejected suggestions the club’s lengthy injury list can be used as an excuse for failure in their FA Cup fifth round visit to third-tier Shrewsbury Town tonight. Beleaguered manager Louis van Gaal has frequently blamed the club’s injury woes for an unsatisfactory campaign which has seen his own future at Old Trafford brought sharply into question.
Thursday’s Europa League defeat at Danish side Midtjylland was seen by many as the low point of the season for United and more embarrassment will await at the struggling Shrews in the FA Cup should United fail again.
But veteran England midfielder Carrick has insisted his colleagues cannot use fitness problems as an excuse and must reward United’s loyal fans with wins.
“Injuries are part of the game – it’s something that’s not ideal as we obviously want everyone fit, but we can’t make any excuses and put the Midtjylland result down to that,” said Carrick.
“We have to pick ourselves up and go again – there’s no other way.
“I think Monday’s a different game but we need to be so much better than we were on Thursday night. We know what to expect but it’s going to be tough and Thursday’s game proves that if you’re not at your best then you can slip up, so we need to be ready for that.
“If we’re at our best, we should win the game. But it’s not as easy as that, as we showed on Thursday.”
Carrick added: “The supporters have been incredible and we haven’t given them an awful lot to shout about. They always stand by us and support us unbelievably well, coming out in their numbers once again in Denmark.
“I can only really apologise for losing a game like that and not rewarding them for their support. Hopefully we can get back to doing that, starting on Monday.”
Sergio Romero is expected to continue in goal for United after David de Gea’s midweek injury while young defender Donald Love is cup-tied, having played in the competition while on loan with Wigan.
De Gea joins an horrendous injury list for van Gaal which now also features Sam Johnstone, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, Guillermo Varela, Ashley Young, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj and Wayne Rooney.
For Shrewsbury, the visit of the Premier League giants will be a welcome diversion from the realities of fighting against relegation near the foot of League One.
The Shropshire club won promotion from League Two last season but have struggled to adjust to the higher level, prompting a major turnover of the squad and questions about the position of manager Micky Mellon.
They are currently three points above the relegation zone, having lost five of their last 10 league matches, so Mellon has little sympathy for United’s plight.
“Somebody spoke to me about the problems they’ve got,” said the Scotsman, whose team gave Chelsea a scare in last season’s League Cup before losing 2-1 at New Meadow.
“I said ‘I wish we had those kind of problems. I wish I had Manchester United’s problems’.
“They’re a fantastic team – an outrageous team with great management and a lot of experience. We’re just determined that we’re going to go out and give a good account of ourselves and see where that takes us.
“We’ll try to enjoy it but keep that level of focus on it as well because we did that last time with Chelsea and it seemed to work really well for us.” – AFP.