Manchester: Manchester United's hopes of securing a top-four finish and Champions League football have been dealt a blow with the news that influential midfielder Michael Carrick will not play again this season.

Michael Carrick
Michael Carrick

As recently as last week, United manager Louis van Gaal was claiming he fully expected the England international to play a part in the closing stages of a campaign which could yet result in frustration were his team to lose out to bitter rivals Liverpool in the chase for a top-four place.

But van Gaal revealed yesterday that Carrick’s calf injury, sustained in the derby victory over Manchester City last month, was worse than first thought. “Carrick is not available, it was more serious than we thought,” van Gaal told a news conference.

'We tried everything'
“We tried everything but now we have to think about next season. He shall not play anymore this season, it’s better now to focus for him on next season and being fit to start.”

The Dutch boss, whose side are away to Crystal Palace today, said Carrick’s absence would hurt his side.

“When you see the stats, it’s clear that he’s very important but that’s also because we have only right-sided holding midfielders.”

“That’s what I have been saying already in the whole of the season, that our selection is not balanced, and I want to restore that in the next transfer period,” he added.

“Life is not ending at 34, but for a professional football player, it's close by. That’s why I have to handle again in that position,” van Gaal explained.

The value of Carrick, 33, to United has been particularly evident in the games since the derby win which have seen United lose consecutive matches to Chelsea, Everton and West Brom without him in the line-up.

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