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Michael Carrick: United can mount a challenge

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Manchester United's Chris Smalling (second right) celebrates his goal with Michael Carrick

Manchester United's Chris Smalling (second right) celebrates his goal with Michael Carrick

Manchester United's Chris Smalling (second right) celebrates his goal with Michael Carrick

MICHAEL Carrick believes that momentum can now lift Manchester United out of their early-season rut and into the next stage of their Premier League campaign.

Louis Van Gaal's side still cling on to fourth place in the league table thanks to their weekend win over Hull City, the third victory in a row, and they plan to inflict more damage on an injury-hit Stoke City tomorrow night.

"Our downfall this season is that we've had to change the team too much and we haven't had a consistent run with this squad.

Hopefully that will change now and it's nice to have a game so quick so we can keep that momentum going," says Carrick as United regroup to take on Stoke at Old Trafford tomorrow.

"It's been strange in some ways (having no midweek games) compared to what we've been used to over the years but it's something that we've got to grips with. It was a good performance and win against Hull but it's behind us now and our focus is on tomorrow."

Glenn Whelan will have to sit out that visit to Old Trafford due to injury, however.

Whelan came on as a 22nd minute sub for Stoke in Saturday's Premier League defeat to Liverpool, his first appearance since he suffered a leg injury while on Euro 2016 qualifying duty for Ireland in Germany last month, but Whelan was unable to last game game and was himself substituted at half time.

"We've got a game on Tuesday and it's highly unlikely either will be available," Hughes said of Whelan and Steve Sidwell.

"Whether it was because he didn't have an opportunity to warm up prior to coming on I don't know, but Glenn has pulled his calf unfortunately."


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