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Premier League

Michael Carrick delighted with rare goal for Manchester United


Michael Carrick was ready to pay any fine Sir Alex Ferguson imposed on him after vacating the Manchester United midfield to score his first Barclays Premier League goal for almost two years.

Carrick sealed yesterday's 2-0 win at QPR with a 30-yard run and 20-yard shot ending a top-flight goal drought that went back all the way to December 2009.

United boss Ferguson feigned anger after the game that Carrick had been so adventurous, saying: "He's supposed to sit in the middle of the pitch - I maybe have to fine him."

Carrick also saw the funny side, admitting: "I'm happy to pay it if I score goals like that."

The 29-year-old added: "The last time I scored a goal from inside my own half was probably when I was playing under-12s!

"It just seemed to open up for me and I kept on going and going and thought: 'Why not?'. It was great to see it go in."

The goal was a relief for Carrick and his team-mates after United squandered a glut of gilt-edged opportunities to add to Wayne Rooney's 53rd-second opener.

"We had so many chances in the game, so many opportunities to get a shot on target," Carrick added.

"I was starting to wonder if it was going to be one of those days.

"So I was delighted to see it go in, though, even if the run seemed to take forever."

Carrick was partnered once again by Phil Jones, who missed several chances to score himself as he continued his transformation from defender into makeshift midfielder.

Ferguson said: "He's only 19 years of age, Phil. He's got tremendous potential and he's got great energy, which you saw.

"He was up and down the pitch, making fantastic runs through the middle.

"He could've scored two or three himself. He's hit the post and goes through in the first half and the goalkeeper's had a good save.

"His energy's really important to the team at the moment."

Ferguson was also delighted to be able to name the fit-again Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov on the bench, especially the former, who became the latest United player to make a surprise recovery having seemingly been ruled out for several weeks.

Ferguson, who was expecting more injured players back soon, said: "It's good to have those two players back and Rafael's training now.

"He just needs a game maybe in the reserve team. It's getting a little bit better.

"Obviously we'd like to have Anderson and (Tom) Cleverley back, of course, and a couple of others.

"But, in the main, we're pleased with what we've got at the moment."

Opposite number Neil Warnock also has his injury problems and spoke afterwards about needing to sign two or three more players in January.

A top-class goalscorer looks a priority for a side who are now just three points above the drop zone.

DJ Campbell was still hoping he could be that man despite missing a glorious chance after coming off the bench.

"Maybe the next chance I'll put away," he said, admitting Rangers needed to bounce back in their upcoming matches.

"This was a bonus game.

"The next two games against Sunderland and Swansea are key games for us."