Carrick - No room for mistakes
Michael Carrick says Manchester United cannot afford to commit last season's errors this term.
Last Updated: 15/08/10 7:20pm
Michael Carrick feels Manchester United cannot afford to commit the errors they made last term if they want to challenge for the title this season.
United suffered eight defeats in their last campaign, including successive losses to Chelsea and defeats at Liverpool and relegated Burnley, yet still only missed out on the Premier League title by one point.
Sir Alex Ferguson's team kick off their quest to reclaim the trophy against Newcastle at Old Trafford on Monday night, and are already looking to catch-up with Chelsea after the Blues landed a commanding 6-0 win over West Brom in their curtain-raiser.
Tottenham and Manchester City also emerged from their opening weekend clash unbeaten, while Aston Villa registered a decisive victory against West Ham, meaning the Red Devils are already under pressure to keep up with their title rivals.
And 29-year-old midfielder Carrick believes United must record an equally emphatic start to their campaign to avoid having to make up ground later in the season.
"The way it looks, you cannot afford to drop too many points," said Carrick.
"Last season was a bit of a freak in terms of how many games both us and Chelsea lost and how many points were dropped.
"The previous few years there wasn't much margin for error and competition is pretty fierce again now.
"Teams who have finished around the Champions League places are looking to break through and you really have to start firing from the off."
Carrick accepts Manchester City's summer spending has marked them as a major threat, but still feels last season's Double winners Chelsea are the team to beat this season.
"Chelsea are the champions, so you have to put them right up there," he added.
"You have to respect what they have in the squad and what they have achieved over a number of years now.
"The manager has gone on record to say if you finish above Chelsea the chances are you will win the league and he is not usually far wrong with things like that.
"With the players they have brought in, Manchester City's aim is obviously to be up there challenging.
"In the same way that we have to give Chelsea respect, we give City respect.
"On paper they have a very good team but that does not always win you leagues, as we have found out ourselves."
Carrick is by no means expecting an easy opener on Monday night, and predicts newly promoted Newcastle to be chomping at the bit for their trip to Old Trafford.
"Newcastle will be flying," added Carrick. "They are back in the Premier League and what better place to start than Old Trafford.
"They obviously want to get off to a good start and build up some momentum themselves.
"It is only two years ago that we played them in the first game at Old Trafford and drew. Hopefully it will be better this time."