2:09pm Saturday 3rd March 2012
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Michael Carrick accepts Manchester United's impressive record against Tottenham will count for little when the champions put their title credentials on the line at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Not since May 2001 have United been beaten by the north London outfit, a run that stretches back 25 games, but this Tottenham side is far more accomplished than many United have faced down the years, including the one Carrick joined them from in 2006.
It is only recent defeats at Manchester City and Arsenal that have ended their realistic chances of finishing top, and Carrick does not feel that alone will take away Spurs' hunger for victory, as he said: "We have a decent record down there, although it won't count for much this weekend."
The 30-year-old midfielder added: "Over the years there have been some classic games between the two teams. It is two teams that play good football and try to play the right way.
"They have played some terrific football this season, especially at home where they have been flying. Losing at Arsenal was a big blow to them but they will be looking to get back on track."
Carrick can reel off a succession of names that could cause United some damage, some of whom were either injured, out of form, in dispute or not even at the club when the Old Trafford outfit emerged triumphant from their first meeting with Tottenham back in August.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp also did his usual January juggling act to bring in former Old Trafford favourite Louis Saha, who has also found the goal touch.
Little wonder that Carrick does not believe the loss of newly-crowned England skipper Scott Parker to suspension will have any major effect.
"Losing Scott will be a blow because he has been a big part of their game this season," said Carrick. "But they have a good enough squad to accommodate that. I don't see it as hugely weakening them.
"Look at Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Emmanuel Adebayor and Louis as well. The way he has settled in so quickly and started scoring goals has been excellent and we all know here what a big threat he can be."
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