Manchester United's Michael Carrick has spoken for the first time about his dip in performance after a poor 2009 Champions League final display plunged him into an 18-month search for his best form.
Carrick, whose three commanding displays against Chelsea and Schalke in the Champions League have seemed to mark a change in his fortunes admitted there had been a dip. "I think the first three years went so well and then losing the final [in Rome] was a blow of course," he said. "You play as it comes in big games and have to understand it's not all going to be great. You can't play well for all of your career in every game, but you just keep going and going and believing in yourself and the form comes back."
Carrick said he has given up thinking about playing a part in Fabio Capello's plans. "It's not something that's really on my mind. It's out of my hands in some ways. I just want to concentrate on being successful here and then whatever happens, happens."
Darren Fletcher and Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen both returned for their clubs' reserve match at Old Trafford last night.