Michael Carrick puts focus on Arsenal FA Cup tie

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The Independent Online

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick admits the thought of a potential derby FA Cup final against local rivals City is an exciting one - but insists he is solely focused on tomorrow's showdown with Arsenal for the time being.

United and City both play last-eight ties at home this weekend and there is already talk about the prospect of the two sides meeting each other at Wembley in either the semi-finals or final.

The latter scenario, as Carrick acknowledges, would be particularly mouth-watering, but the 29-year-old has stressed he is thinking only of the quarter-final at Old Trafford against the Gunners at the moment and that United, who are looking to bounce back from last week's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, must take things one game at a time as the season starts to near its finale.

"I can understand the fans getting excited about the possibility but we haven't even thought about the chances of an all Manchester final game at Wembley yet," Carrick said.

"We can't look beyond this one on Saturday yet because it is so huge. We have been so busy leading up to this one that even Arsenal hadn't been mentioned prior to Liverpool.

"It really is a game-by-game time of the season and that is the only way you can tackle a run-in."

Arsenal are also aiming for a return to winning ways after being knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona earlier this week.

The London outfit remain United's closest challengers at the top of the Barclays Premier League and Carrick is expecting a pulsating encounter.

"Arsenal are obviously a very talented midfield. They showed against Barcelona in the first leg (which they won 2-1) how good they can be," Carrick said.

"They are very skilful and dangerous and play their way. They don't change it for anyone. We have always had good games against them and pretty close games.

"They are usually good footballing games and I am sure it can be one the fans will savour.

"We always have great respect for them because we are well aware that, when they are on their game, if you are not switched on they are very capable of beating the very best.

"It is going to be quite a show-down. These are the huge games you want to play in."

United have won plenty of trophies since Carrick arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2006 but their last triumph in the FA Cup came in 2004.

Carrick was part of the team beaten in the final four years ago by Chelsea and the former Tottenham player is eager to get his hands on the only club honour still to evade him.

"There is a good chunk of us (in the United squad) who haven't won the FA Cup, so we are desperate to progress," Carrick said.

"I was fortunate enough to play in a final at Wembley when I played against Chelsea in 2007 but we lost so my memories are not too fond.

"It was hard to take losing that final. I have been lucky enough to win other trophies and I am very proud of them but missing out on this one hurts.

"I think that goes for a lot of our squad. That's why we are so keen to get to Wembley and win this time. A lot of us are missing that medal and we want one."



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