Michael: Proud But Disappointed

Michael Carrick says he is getting close to full fitness - and is full of praise for the way the fans conducted themselves at Tottenham on Wednesday evening.

"I am just about there; I felt really good on Wednesday and felt I did quite well," he says of his upward curve towards full fitness after a long lay-off.

"I think I am getting better every week and I am pleased with the way things are going at the moment." He reckons an inexperienced side did the club proud, and adds:

"When you look through the team there are a lot of young lads and it was a completely different team to the one that played last year there.

"So to go there and give them a game like that means they can be proud of themselves.

"And the fans were quality as well - but it was disappointing we couldn't get to the next round of the cup.

"The away fans are always great for us, especially for Tottenham, and it was just frustrating - I don't think we have let them down because we have done well, but everyone is a bit disappointed.

"It seems a while now since we were in the winning habit and we need to get that back - and on top of the league." From Alan Pardew's point of view, scoring is a concern, and he explains:

"You have to look at our record in the league to see that we are struggling to score goals, not just in the last period, but from the start of the season."

"It seems that if Jermain doesn't score then we are not looking likely to, and most of the chances fell to him on the night.

"But we worked really hard and showed great discipline."

Alan, too, is keen to praise the supporters, and he adds:

"Our fans were fantastic - they helped us along because there were moments when we struggled with our shape a little bit."