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CARRICK ON HAMMER BLOW

Posted on 8 May 2006  - 12:00

Michael Carrick revealed there was silence in the dressing room after our season came to a conclusion with defeat to West Ham.

Michael Carrick revealed there was silence in the dressing room after our season came to a conclusion with defeat to West Ham.

It was not a fitting end to a fine season, which sees us qualify for the UEFA Cup through our fifth place finish, with the build up to the game at Upton Park seriously hampered by ten of the players suffering from illness overnight that left them unable to take on much in the way of food or fluids.

They still gave it their all against a lively West Ham and levelled the game through Jermain Defoe after Carl Fletcher had shot the Hammers into an early lead. However, a goal ten minutes from time from Yossi Benayoun left the lads stunned and with little left to give in the chase for the win that would have seen us secure fourth place.

"It is devastating, the dressing room was in silence and it is so hard to take on the last day," said Michael when he emerged. "It just wasn't to be, a number of things went against us and this is where we end up.

"About ten of the boys were up through the night being sick. It is not good preparation, obviously, and I had to come off myself because I was gone, exhausted and didn't have any energy. I signalled to the bench that I couldn't carry on and it shows how it affected us.

"We are not making excuses, of course, but it is a fact. We were focused on the game and tried to do our best. It was our biggest game of the season and without the preparation we didn't play well enough. Credit to West Ham and to Arsenal, who have pipped us, but it is hard for us.

"It was a tough game and they played at a very high tempo, it was hot and they caused us a few problems. I'm not taking anything away from them.

"We weren't playing well but we found ourselves drawing at half-time and thought we still could have nicked it," Michael continued, before attempting to look at the campaign as a whole rather than the cruel end.

"We've had a great season and must try and take the positives out of it, although it is hard at this stage.

"We are going in the right direction, but it is hard for everyone at the club at the moment. We've progressed and looking at the big picture it has been a great season with young lads doing well in the team.

"There are a few lads in the squad looking to go to the World Cup so hopefully we can put this behind us now and bounce back."