Carrick - CL no easier
Michael Carrick insists it remains difficult to qualify from the UEFA Champions League group phase.
Last Updated: 01/11/10 11:00am
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick insists it remains just as difficult to qualify from the UEFA Champions League group phase as in previous seasons.
The Red Devils face Bursaspor on Tuesday evening knowing victory would take the club on to 10 points, which is often considered enough to reach the next round.
United can achieve that target with two games to spare, but Carrick does not subscribe to the view that the group stage is getting easier.
New rules introduced at the start of last season allowed clubs from a greater number of countries to participate in the competition, but Carrick does not feel it has diminished the quality of the Champions League.
"The Champions League is not easier than it used to be," said the England international.
"In terms of the stature and history of the clubs, it might not be as good, but the games are still tough, especially away from home.
"People might point to our away record, which is very good, but all those matches have been hard.
"Travelling to Turkey, for instance, presents you with a long journey and a different type of atmosphere. You are encountering players that you don't see every week.
"It brings a different challenge to Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
"It is something you have to face if you want to continue in the competition."
United overcame Bursaspor 1-0 at home a fortnight ago thanks to Nani's early goal and Carrick is hoping to claim another victory.
"We prepare as well as we can and watch them as often as we can," said Carrick.
"It is new and it is an experience. But whoever we play, we feel as though we have a great chance of winning if we do well. That is what we focus on."