Michael: Back To Business

Michael Carrick says the fuss that has been made about him not being in the starting line up of late has been over the top - and that his only concern is with the team.

Michael, who returned to the side on Saturday to play a starring role in West Ham's fantastic victory over Chelsea, says: "I think it has been blown up a lot more than it should have been in the papers about what it has been like for me personally - it is one of those things and if you are not playing at your best you expect to be criticised.

"I am no different, and it has just been one of those things. I got stick in one game but even last week when I came on the fans were brilliant and once you are on the pitch you try not to let anything affect you.

"Why the papers made so much fuss I don't know; there are a lot of lads dropped all over the country, yet for some reason they were talking about me.

"But it is out of my hands and it is a good pressure to have in terms of trying to be in the England squad, but it is not really 'pressure' in that respect and I am the same as any other footballer.

"It goes without saying I have been disappointed not to be in the team, devastated even, but football is football and it happens to the best of them, and I am no different.

"It is all about self belief - I have been confident in my own ability all the way and everyone has a couple of bad games."

Michael feels the performance at Stamford Bridge mixed flair with commitment and adds: "There were good skills but there was also a bit of grit, determination, and character as well, especially in the second half when we showed great character when everything is against you.

"I felt quite good although, having not played for a couple of weeks, I cramped up a little bit in the last 20 minutes but overall, I enjoyed it and it was a good three points."

Glenn Roeder says that pitching Michael back in to play against Frank Lampard and Jody Morris would motivate him and he admits: "It was good to play against Lamps; he is one of the best in the country and it is good to test yourself against the best.

"But the main thing is we did well as a team, defending and attacking well."

Now, Michael is looking ahead to maintaining winning ways, and he adds: "We want to show people what we can do. We have the Chesterfield game but then we must put on another performance in the league against Birmingham at the weekend and get another three points.

"It is a long season. If you are playing well you are going to get the results, and it is not as if we have been playing really badly.

"There have been positive aspects from every game and with the quality we have got we are going to pick up points."