Michael Carrick has rebuffed suggestions Manchester United’s players don’t care and insists their recent poor form is not due to a lack of effort.
The midfielder scored United’s second goal against Fulham on Sunday but the 2-2 draw meant that they remain seventh in the Premier League, nine points adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool and with 21 fewer points than they had at this stage of last season.
It has prompted suggestions that the defending champions’ underachievers are not trying hard enough but Carrick is adamant they still retain a winning mentality.
He said: “Of course the players care. It is the pride we have in ourselves and each other. No-one wants to go through a spell when people are questioning you and things are going wrong. But we have had enough success over the years that we retain a belief in ourselves even when things are not going so well.
“We keep trying to do the right things and in the end, you think it will pay off for you. We thought it had but it wasn't to be. It isn't for the want of trying. It is not a case of not caring. We care just as much, if not more, than anybody else.”
Carrick won five league titles in his first seven seasons at Old Trafford and admits this year has been difficult.
He added: “We have had success over the years. It comes easy when you have success. You have to deal with the down times as well. You have to respect both and deal with them. It has been a tough season and we are not in a very good position in the league.
“We keep saying we need to go on a run. Performance wise it is a tough one to take when you play OK and create enough chances to win three or four games and we have still drawn again at home. We will pick ourselves up. That is what we do. That is the business we are in.”