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Manchester derby: History of cup clashes

By ESPN Staff

Carrick bullish ahead of Champions League final

Michael Carrick heads to the Champions League final believing that Manchester United have firmly proved they are the best team in the Premier League.

United face Chelsea in Moscow next week brimming with confidence after securing their 17th league title last weekend.

And midfielder Carrick believes that sheer determination to prove critics wrong has taken the Old Trafford club to the brink of a remarkable double.

The England international told MUTV: 'At the start of the campaign we wanted to prove that the previous season's title was not a one-off, we really were the best team.

'But the season was not as straightforward as the previous one. We did not start in particularly great form, we were behind Arsenal and people were saying it was over.

'So to come out on top is very satisfying, we really earned it this time around. To win the league and be in the final of the Champions League, that is what this club is all about.'

He added: 'The key to our success has been determination, and the discipline within the squad.

'The boss made some signings last summer that really strengthened the squad as a whole and that has proved the case in recent months when everyone has played their part in a massive way.

'If it was not for the numbers and quality that we had in the squad, who knows, we might not be sitting in this position.

'We get on so well, even the lads that came during the summer and did not speak much English when they first arrived.

'But they were willing to try to interact with the lads and the British lads really appreciate that.

'We have a good laugh about it when they get things wrong but they are willing to try and learn. The performances on the pitch speak for themselves but as characters within the squad the team spirit has been fantastic.'

Now United are aiming for the club's third European Cup triumph, and Carrick added: 'To get to the Champions League final is pretty phenomenal.

'Sometimes with two top teams in the final it can be very tight and cagey, other times it can be full of attacking football. Really I do not care as long as we win.

'Last season the FA Cup final defeat was hard to take for us, hopefully we can learn from that and put things right this year.'