Manchester United’s injury-hit squad will get no favours from the fixture list between now and the end of the season but Michael Carrick says it is not a time for excuses.
Sunday’s clash with relegation-threatened Swansea will be United’s ninth game in April and they have been handed a midday kick-off despite a draining Manchester derby finishing close to 10pm on Thursday night.
Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Juan Mata, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are all injured, while Marouane Fellaini is serving a three-game ban for headbutting Sergio Aguero.
Those who are still fit and available face another seven matches in 22 days, or eight in 25 if they make the Europa League final, but Carrick is focused on the job at hand.
“It’s not ideal,” the midfielder told MUTV.
“We’ll have to be ready for Sunday. It’s what we do and it’s what we’re here for. It is no excuse.
“Credit to the boys. It’s never easy when you’ve got injuries – especially to key players. Everyone’s done a terrific job and shown how important the squad is.”
Matteo Darmian, who has returned to a starting role as others have dropped out, echoed Carrick’s message.
“We haven’t got too much time for recovery and to prepare for the (Swansea) game but, from now until the end of the season, we play every few days, so we have to be ready,” he said.
“Every one is important so we have to be focused, play on Sunday and win.”
United missed the chance to overtake Manchester City with their 0-0 draw at the Etihad Stadium, but given the home side’s statistical dominance, not to mention Fellaini’s moment of madness, things could have been worse.
Carrick is still confident the fight is on, with prospects improved by their hard-fought draw at City.
“It’s a good point and it’s a point gained on Liverpool. There was a lot going into this game including the rivalry. It was make or break for us and for City,” he said.
“We’ve got some tough games to play and we’re in a better position now than we were at the start of the night. We can take the positives from it.”