Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick didn't consider passing up tap-in for penalty against Galatasaray

 

Michael Carrick never considered passing up the chance of a rare goal at Old Trafford last night.

The Manchester United midfielder's early effort proved decisive in the Champions League win over Galatasaray.

Yet in converting his seventh-minute chance, Carrick was not just scoring his first European goal for three years, he was also allowing Fernando Muslera to escape without sanction for a definite red card offence.

Muslera tripped Carrick as the midfielder stepped inside onto Shinji Kagawa's pass.

Had he not managed to score anyway, referee Wolfgang Stark would have had little alternative but to dismiss the Uruguayan in addition to awarding the hosts a penalty.

Carrick was not too keen on that idea. And given Nani later became the third United player this season to fail from the spot, it was probably a wise choice.

"I didn't go down because the way we are taking penalties we might not have scored!" said Carrick.

"I don't get many goals anyway so when you get a tap-in you have to take it. I wasn't going to pass that one up from five yards out."

It was Carrick's first goal since January and only his 20th in a United career now approaching 300 games.

The statistic might be one reason why he has been overlooked so often for international duty.

Even after he declared his availability after missing Euro 2012, the 31-year-old failed to start either of the recent World Cup qualifiers against Moldova or Ukraine.

"People say I should get more but it is about the position you play in," he said.

"You look at other defensive midfielders around Europe and they don't necessarily score a lot of goals.

"In an ideal world I'd like to score more but I am not really around the box that much."

Although they struggled badly at times, the result was everything to Sir Alex Ferguson and his players.

Last season's group stage exit wounded the Red Devils deeply.

Plenty of work still lies ahead but if they can emerge from next month's trip to Romanian champions Cluj unscathed, they will be in pole position to reclaim their customary place in the knockout phase.

"It is not about restoring belief in Europe but last year was a setback and it was important to get off to a winning start," said Carrick.

"It is not easy to win games in this competition and it won't be easy in Cluj either."

Before that, United have what is sure to be an emotional visit to Liverpool this Sunday.

It is the Merseyside giants' first game at Anfield since the damning judgement on the Hillsborough tragedy, and Liverpool are intending to mark the occasion in an appropriate manner.

Sir Alex Ferguson has already confirmed United will offer any assistance possible in ensuring the day passes off smoothly.

That is thought to include the United boss laying a wreath prior to kick-off, whilst it is inconceivable that, despite last season's racism storm, Patrice Evra will not shake hands with Luis Suarez.

However, as Ferguson pointed out on Tuesday, there are always some people "wanting to be heard".

Thankfully, there was no repeat of the anti-Liverpool songs at Old Trafford last night.

Everyone is aware that, in a rivalry as intense as the one that exists between England's two most successful sides, it will not take much for it to spill over as has occurred far too many times in the past.

"After what has gone on there is added responsibility on the players for everything to go smoothly," said Carrick.

"We will be doing our utmost to make sure that is the case.

"It is a heated game because it is a great football match. That is what should be celebrated really.

"It is a rivalry of two great clubs with great histories and traditions. It is what makes the game so special, a classic game worldwide.

"Hopefully it will be a cracking game of football because it is vital that after Sunday, everyone is talking about the football."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before