Michael Carrick is warning Manchester United FC to take nothing for granted despite a 1-0 win at Chelsea FC that has left Sir Alex Ferguson's team within sight of a fourth UEFA Champions League semi-final in five years.
Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of a tight first leg at Stamford Bridge and, with United having won their last 11 home games in all competitions, the temptation is to believe the decisive blow in the tie has been struck. Yet Carrick insists that is not the case. "The first part was to try and score and keep a clean sheet so we're very happy with that," the midfielder told UEFA.com. "
We're not getting carried away, we know there's no chance the job is finished. We've got to focus on next week and that's going to be massive again."
United had not won at Stamford Bridge since April 2002 – losing 2-1 there in the Premier League last month – and Carrick acknowledged that a determination within the squad to improve on that record had played a significant part. "It's satisfying to come here and win," the 29-year-old said. "We've played too well here over the years and not got the results we thought we deserved. At half-time we were well aware we'd been 1-0 up a few times and not finished the game off so we're delighted to come away with the win."
There were key figures at both ends of the pitch for United in the shape of Rio Ferdinand – making his first appearance after two months out with a calf injury – and match-winner Rooney. Carrick paid tribute to both. "We all know how good Rio is," the England international said. "He's a huge presence within the squad and not many players can come back and play like he did tonight after being out for so long. It's a huge lift to have him back.
It's typical Wayne – on the big stage he plays well and scores. Of late he's scored some goals that have been hugely important for us. Hopefully he'll continue his run."
Carrick, who has played every minute of United's UEFA Champions League campaign since Matchday 2, was equally keen to talk down his own contribution, adding: "I was just happy to win. We're there to do a job, to protect the defenders and support the front as much as we can. Me and Giggsy played OK first half when we had a bit more possession; the second half was more defensive but it was about winning and thankfully we did that."
United are further buoyed for Tuesday's return leg by their excellent home form – they have lost just one of their last 31 matches in the competition at Old Trafford – yet Carrick warns there is still plenty of work to do. "We respect Chelsea for the players and the strength they have. We know we've got to be at our best to finish the job. It won't be a case of believing we're through already, that's not what we do. One goal doesn't really change it too much. It's still going to be tight and we can't approach the game trying to draw it. That's not something we're comfortable with at all. We'll approach it as if it was 0-0 and look to finish it off."
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