Daily Express

No excuses, we blew big chance laments Carrick

- By Richard Tanner

MICHAEL CARRICK says Manchester United cannot use the pre-match crowd trouble as an excuse for the defeat at West Ham that looks to have ended their Champions League hopes.

United’s team coach was attacked by fans hurling missiles as it stood stranded a few hundred yards from Upton Park.

Kick-off was delayed by 45 minutes to give Louis van Gaal’s squad the statutory preparatio­n time and the Dutchman claimed the unsavoury scenes “had an influence” on his players.

But former Hammers player Carrick says there is no excuse for throwing away a 2-1 lead with 20 minutes left and losing 3-2.

“Whatever went on beforehand, you’ve just got to get on with it,” he said. “We were here, we were ready and we had over an hour to prepare for the game. It’s no excuse.

“We were in the game at 2-1, and you would have expected us to go on and win it. We got ourselves in the position and we should have held on. We should have done better. We should have seen the game out and taken control but we let West Ham back in it.”

Van Gaal had warned before the game of the Hammers’ threat from set-pieces but Carrick admits United did not help themselves by giving away two unnecessar­y freekicks that led to them conceding the second and third goals.

He said: “We got ourselves back in the game but then we give away silly free-kicks. We have to be more clever than that. We put ourselves under pressure by letting them put the ball in the box. In the end that has won them the game and we’re very disappoint­ed.”

The loss means qualifying for the Champions League is out of United’s hands again. To finish fourth, they need to beat Bournemout­h at home on Sunday and pray neighbours Manchester City lose at Swansea.

“That is the situation that has presented itself now so we have to stay focused,” said Carrick. “We were in control of it going into the West Ham game but we’ve let it slip. We will see what happens.”

The one positive for Van Gaal was the form of Anthony Martial, who scored both United goals to take his total to 17 in all competitio­ns and become their only player to reach double figures in the Premier League this season.

“He was terrific once again,” said Carrick. “He’s a real threat, isn’t he? He has had a terrific season.”

 ?? Main picture: JASON CAIRNDUFF ?? BEFORE AND AFTER: Mounted police try to defend the besieged United coach while wrecked seats tell their own sorry tale DESPAIR: Carrick knows Champions League hopes are in jeopardy
Main picture: JASON CAIRNDUFF BEFORE AND AFTER: Mounted police try to defend the besieged United coach while wrecked seats tell their own sorry tale DESPAIR: Carrick knows Champions League hopes are in jeopardy

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