Michael Carrick says Manchester United would not celebrate a top-four finish this season, telling the Daily Mirror: “You only celebrate when you win.”
United did not finish below third in the Premier League during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign, but they have finished seventh, fourth and fifth in the seasons since his retirement after winning the 2012-13 title.
Jose Mourinho’s side are currently sixth in the table, only two points behind the Champions League playoff spot, but Carrick said: “It’s not something we’d celebrate, if we finished third, fourth or even second.
“You only celebrate when you win, but the Champions League is a big part of this club.
“It’s where you want to play, it’s where the best players want to play, so in terms of attracting players and all that type of stuff, the club is geared up for that, of course it is, but you can only celebrate winning, really, and finishing top.”
He added: “The top-four has got to be the bare minimum, really.
The 35-year-old, who joined United from Tottenham in 2006, expressed confidence that Mourinho was getting the club back on track after their struggles under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
“We’re playing well though and we’ve been pretty consistent over quite a long period of time,” he said. “Every manager has got his own way of doing things, how they see the game, what to do in certain situations and general philosophy of how to put a team together.
“I think everyone agrees, attacking-wise, we look a lot more dangerous and exciting this year. We’ve scored a lot more goals and it’s a different style of play now. There’s a confidence and a belief that probably comes from playing so well over a long period of time and getting good results.
“It’s about building momentum, which is something you can’t achieve in a week or a month or two. It takes time but I think we’re getting there. We’ve still got a way to go, but it certainly feels like it’s going in the right direction.”