Michael Carrick does not believe a top-four finish in the Premier League is beyond Manchester United despite a 1-0 loss at West Brom on Sunday.
Louis van Gaal’s side had Juan Mata sent off in the first half following a pair of yellow cards, the first for blocking a free-kick without retreating the requisite 10 yards and the second for a wild challenge on Darren Fletcher.
Defeat leaves United three points adrift of local rivals Manchester City in the final Champions League qualifying berth, but Manuel Pellegrini’s side have played a game fewer.
Carrick is confident that a place in the top four remains a possibility, but acknowledged his team must avoid dropping more points.
“[The top four] is not out of sight. We just need to get back to winning ways, that’s it,” the midfielder told Sky Sports.
“It’s easy to say, but we’ve got to bounce back. We’ve got big games coming up and we’ve got to be ready for them.”
After four successive wins in all competitions, the 34-year-old was frustrated by United’s change in fortunes at The Hawthorns, citing Mata’s dismissal as pivotal.
“We wanted to carry on the form we’ve shown of late,” added Carrick. “It’s very disappointing. It’s a tough game coming here anyway, but losing a man makes it more difficult. In the second half t
hey had one chance and scored.
“[The red card] changed the game because you put one less man in the attacking areas, which affected us on the break especially. I thought we were comfortable for most of the second half, but that was the difference in the end.
“It is what it is. I have seen the second one [booking], I didn’t get a good look at it, but it was a setback for us. You’ll have to ask him [if he’s let the team down].”