"Manchester City game doesn't matter" - just how wrong is United star?

Michael Carrick 2012

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick tried to play down Tuesday's showdown with local rivals Manchester City, but is he wrong?

United bounced back from their recent 3-0 defeat to Liverpool with 3-0 and 2-0 wins over Olympiacos and West Ham United respectively, and now have a chance to rack up a third straight win in all competitions when they take on Manuel Pellegrini's City tomorrow.

But despite the huge billing the game has been given by fans and pundits alike, United star Carrick says the game doesn't matter because United have been so poor this season, and beating their 'noisy neighbours' wouldn't change anything in the grand scheme of things.

"I don't think it [the derby] matters," he said. "It's just another game for us; a big game but it's not going to repair any of the damage that's been done in recent months by us losing games."

"Beating City would help us in terms of keeping our run going," Carrick continued. "We understand the fans and the result they want and for us as players it's exactly the same, but we're still not getting carried away because of the season we've had."

It's no doubt a tactic from the former Spurs man to reduce expectations - after all, United were roundly trounced by another rival in Liverpool less than ten days ago, and the fallout from that game led to questions about manager David Moyes' future, and United could certainly do without that as the season draws to a close.

But make no mistake - this game is important to the Red Devils. A win over City - who currently sit twelve points above United - would be a huge boost to a fan base that has witnessed a terrible first season since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure last summer. It would almost certainly give renewed belief around the club that they can get back to their past glories, as United's only win against a top four side this season came when they beat Arsenal 1-0 at Old Trafford back in November.

Additionally, beating City would put a huge dent in their hopes of reclaiming the title - which would no doubt bring smiles to faces of United fans, so whilst Carrick may look to play down the importance of the fixture, it's still as important as ever.

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