Carrick: Manchester United must fight for the title next season

The England midfielder admits 2014-15 is “not worth thinking about” if they fail to win the Premier League and insists only slight changes are needed within the squad

Michael Carrick insists Manchester United must accept nothing less than a Premier League title challenge next season.

The Red Devils are on the brink of European exile for the first time in 19 years, with 12 defeats leaving them languishing in seventh place in the table.

They must beat Southampton on the final day of the season and hope Tottenham drop points against Aston Villa if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the Europa League.

There are expected to be sweeping changes at Old Trafford over the coming months, including the arrival of Louis Van Gaal, who has agreed to take over as David Moyes’ long-term successor, and Carrick has stated the club are aiming to return to the Premier League summit.

“Listen, this club moves forward all the time and we are always trying to bring in players through, groom players and develop them,” he told the club’s official website. “You could say this is the start of something else because there are going to be changes between now and next season.

“How much change, we will have to wait and see, but it is about getting strong, improving and coming back next year to fight on all fronts again. That is certainly what the aim is and we shouldn’t be aiming for anything less.

“There is no way we are settling for top four – that is not something we do here. We can’t celebrate getting into the top four, that’s not worth celebrating. We want to be challenging right at the top.

“I am not standing here and saying we are going to win the league next season, but that is what our goal is and anything less than that is not worth thinking about. Certainly, top four is not something that we will settle for.

“It is easy to say there will be wholesale changes because we obviously haven’t had a good season. If you look within the squad, there are some good players there.

“There probably needs to be some changes in some way because that is natural with the situation we are in at the moment, but you can’t change too much because it is hard. Bringing players in is tough enough and we will just have to wait and see how it pans out.”

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