CARRICK-ITY DEFENCE COST US
FULHAM v MANCHESTER UTD Tonight – 8pm
MICHAEL CARRICK is expecting a rough ride at Fulham tonight but is just happy not to be playing centre-half!
Two years ago, United were thumped 3-0 by the Cottagers when an injury crisis forced Sir Alex Ferguson to use Carrick and Darren Fletcher at the back.
United head to Craven Cottage looking to protect the only unbeaten away record in the top four divisions and keep up the pressure on leaders City.
And Carrick is grateful to be taking up his usual position in central midfield.
He said: “I remember the game two years ago, though not that well!
“We had no defenders left so me and Fletch played at centre-half. I’d played there for two or three matches before that and we’d won, but that was probably one game too many. It wasn’t a great day for us.
“Fulham have had an up-and-down time this season, but they beat QPR 6-0 at their place and have had some other good results,” Carrick continued.
“We know they’re well organised and Craven Cottage is a tough place to visit, but it’s a good, old-fashioned football ground and we look forward to it.”
Fulham boss Martin Jol claims he will take on “strong bugger” Wayne Rooney with his very own version of Juan Mata.
Craven Cottage playmaker Bryan Ruiz is at last showing the form that could justify his £10.6million price tag when he arrived from FC Twente in the summer.
And Jol believes the Costa Rica international is a star in the making, insisting: “He was a star in Holland and we had to pay probably three times an average player.
“So if you want to get him you have to pay a lot. I feel his best position is probably infield in a 4-3-3 like Juan Mata, for instance.
“In Holland he played in a 4-3-3 on the flank. It’s one thing we have to think about in the future.”
Jol added: “Where Rooney is playing now, he is doing well because he is a strong bugger.
“He is probably at his best he is playing now, in these gaps, when there are two midfield players.”
FUL OF JOY: Carrick on one of his better days, scoring against QPR