Michael Carrick has claimed the Manchester United squad has discussed the importance of rewarding strong performances with results for a number of weeks.
Jose Mourinho‘s men slumped down the table after failing to translate dominant performances against Stoke City, Burnley, Arsenal, West Ham and Everton into positive results.
That said, this past week has witnessed something of a resurgence, with Man United claiming well deserved wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace.
Carrick, speaking after the 2-1 win over Alan Pardew’s side, highlighted the importance of continuing in the same vein over the next few weeks.
“Those are big moments when you win like that, not just in games but in seasons as well,” he said. “It feels better and it gives you a good feeling going into the next game.
“We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves because it is dangerous to do that, but we have been speaking for a number of weeks now that things are clicking into gear for us. We just haven’t had the results to show for that. This last week has been good for us.
“We say it every year: this time, coming into a quick run of games, is a big time and if you can come out of Christmas in good shape then you give yourself a real chance. If we can finish the season stronger than we started then we have a good chance of being up there.”
December has always served as an important hinge point for any Premier League side. A positive run of results over the festive period would see Mourinho’s men enter the business end of the season – the home straight, where the table really begins to take shape – on the front foot, buoyed by several weeks of steady progression.
United’s calamitous December under Louis van Gaal – hallmarked by three defeats and just two goals in give games – saw United enter the new year miles off the pace, destined for a mediocre amble towards Europa League football. Needless to say, United fans will be desperate to see Mourinho avoid a similar pattern.