It was a strange end to the season for Manchester United. For a club which is so used to challenging regularly for the Premier League title, a fourth place finish is hardly something to celebrate.
But the fact was after a huge blip in 2013-14, United needed to get back on track and they did exactly that in Louis van Gaal’s first season in charge. There were strong signs that they can improve next year and compete for the title once again.
Michael Carrick is happy that United returned to the Champions League, but was not exactly in a mood to praise a season which must be seen as a job done rather than a reason to celebrate.
He told the club’s official website: “It [the season] was up and down, I think. We had mixed results at the start, picked up for a while, dipped a bit, picked up again and then had another dip. But there are certainly signs of moving in the right direction and signs of big improvement.
“All in all, we can be satisfied with getting in the top four but it’s not worth celebrating. Hopefully we can do a bit of celebrating next season.”
“It’s [finishing in the top four] an achievement but, listen, it’s not that great. Finishing seventh was a real blip and it was a one-off. This club belongs in the Champions League and we can’t get too carried away with making it because we should be there anyway.
“We’re certainly satisfied in some ways because of last season, but next season we want to look up and not be settling for fourth.”
When asked about the possibility of United winning their 14th Premier League title next year, Carrick was coy but seemed quietly confident in the squad’s ability.
He continued: “I think it’s hard to say. We believe we’ll come back after the summer strong and we’ll look to attack the season, and try to win whatever competition we’re in. It’s not going to change; it’s what we’ve done for years now and we’ll still go into next season looking to be successful.”
United are expected to be active in the upcoming transfer window, with Van Gaal looking to build on the foundations he has put down at Old Trafford.
A deal for exciting Dutch winger Memphis Depay has already been wrapped up, and there is the promise of more to come as the Red Devils look to force their way back into top-flight title reckoning.