Michael Carrick says Manchester United’s squad are fully aware that Wednesday’s FA Cup quarter-final replay against West Ham is “make or break” for their season.
United are down in fifth position in the Premier League, four points behind rivals Manchester City with only six games to play and just one ahead of the Hammers in sixth.
The two teams drew 1-1 at Old Trafford last month after Anthony Martial’s late strike cancelled out a stunning free-kick from Dimitri Payet, setting up a replay with the winners set to face Everton at Wembley on April 23.
United go into the match on the back of a miserable 3-0 defeat to title-chasing Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday which Carrick wants to forget immediately.
“We are looking forward to Wednesday now and that has got to be the focus,” Carrick told MUTV.
“We have got to take what we can from Sunday and move on to a massive game. We all know what that means and it is make or break on the night.
“It is one we can look forward to and hopefully we can come away with the win and get into the next round.
“It is not the weekend we wanted at all but there are a few weekends left yet, so things can happen and we have seen that in all sorts of different ways. We just need to focus on ourselves now, take what we can from the rest of the season and see where it takes us.
“Anthony had a decent chance [against Tottenham] and when you come away from home in a game like that, you need to take the chances you get. Unfortunately we didn’t do that and we have paid the price.”
West Ham, meanwhile, rallied from two goals down to draw a thrilling encounter with London rivals Arsenal 3-3 on Saturday, courtesy of a magnificent hat-trick from Andy Carroll.
Slaven Bilic’s men are unbeaten in 10 matches, although they have drawn four matches on the bounce coming into the last FA Cup tie at Upton Park before they move to the Olympic Stadium next season.
“The team showed a lot of character to get a point from the game,” Manuel Lanzini told the club’s official website.
“It is slightly frustrating that we weren’t able to take the three points, but on the whole, I think we take a lot of positives from it and we will now concentrate on Wednesday’s cup game against Manchester United.”
Bilic was impressed by the impact of Carroll and hopes he will be available to disrupt United’s defence.
“We have good strikers, of course, and Andy is fit now and he looked really sharp and we hoped we were going to have success like this, with space on the flanks which we could use to put in good crosses,” the manager told reporters.
“We have a few players who can bend the ball in really well. Putting the ball in the box, it’s more likely to find Andy than the defenders – he has done it against Liverpool, against Chelsea and now against Arsenal, so it was a good decision.
“I hope he’s going to be fit for Man United but I don’t think Diafra Sakho or Alex Song will be fit for that game.”
United, meanwhile, have captain Wayne Rooney (knee) nearing a return to fitness but the game may come too soon for him.
Key Opta stats:
– This is the ninth time these sides have been drawn in the FA Cup – the previous eight have alternated between West Ham progressing twice and Manchester United progressing twice.
– The Red Devils have progressed the last two times they have faced West Ham in the FA Cup, meaning West Ham would go through if the sequence was to continue.
– Louis van Gaal’s side were eliminated at this stage last season to eventual FA Cup winners Arsenal.
– West Ham have reached the quarter-final stage of the FA Cup for the first time since 2011, when they were eliminated by eventual runners-up Stoke.
– The Hammers are winless in their last 11 competitive meetings with Manchester United (D5 L6), but their last victory was in a domestic cup quarter-final tie at Upton Park (League Cup in November 2010).
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