Michael Carrick believes Manchester United’s derby victory has averted “disaster” but claims it will count for little if not followed up by more victories.
United gave their misfiring campaign a timely shot in the arm by snatching a 1-0 victory over neighbours Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The result revived United’s Champions League hopes, lifting them level with West Ham and just a point behind City in a now tight battle for fourth place in the Barclays Premier League.
Carrick said: “To get a result was great because it was a must-win for the league and if we had lost then it would have been a disaster in terms of going into the international break and coming back after that a long way off (fourth).
“All in all it was a great day and hopefully this can turn things around for us. It’s a massive boost but it’s only a big boost and worth it if we carry it on when we get back.
“We need to go on a good run now, everyone is the same. It’s at that stage of the season where everything seems to count for a lot more – every point, every win.”
Teenager Marcus Rashford scored the only goal of the game, three weeks after his double helped see off Arsenal.
They were two notable victories for United and their under-fire manager Louis van Gaal, but the games between included a loss to West Brom and Europa League exit at the hands of Liverpool.
Such inconsistency has been a recurring frustration for United throughout a season that has regularly lurched towards crisis.
Carrick said: “It’s football, sometimes it’s tough to explain. It has been a funny season. It has been frustrating because we know we have got performances in us, and you can see that against the so called bigger teams, but it’s not enough.
“Consistency is the key to winning the league and doing well in it. You need to be consistent so that’s what we need to get better it.”
Carrick, 34, is out of contract in the summer as the one-year extension he signed 12 months ago comes to an end. As yet, he is unclear what the future holds.
He said: “I am not sure yet to be honest. I haven’t heard anything just at the moment. Hopefully (I will) some time soon.
“I have been here a long time, I have had some great times here and I love the club. It’s a great place to play.
“Playing games like this, it keeps you having that buzz and enthusiasm to play for longer, so we will wait and see what happens.”
Carrick has not been a nailed-on starter this season, as he has for most of his United career, but he insists that does not concern him.
He said: “I have still played a lot of games, but you just accept that when you come to a certain age you can’t literally play every game or full games. That is just part of it. It’s not something that I have worried about at all.”
Carrick, who has 34 caps, has not been included in England’s squad for forthcoming friendlies against Germany and Holland but has not given up hope of playing at Euro 2016.
He said: “It’s the same for everyone. A lot can change between now and the summer. There are some big games and you have got to be consistent. That is how it goes.”