Carrick: hard to explain Fulham draw

Michael Carrick celebrates scoring against Fulham Photo: PA Images

Michael Carrick was at a complete loss to understand how Manchester United failed to beat Fulham at Old Trafford on Sunday.

A testing debut season for manager David Moyes suffered yet another significant setback as Darren Bent's last-gasp header earned the Premier League's bottom club a point.

The 2-2 draw came despite United dominating possession and putting an astounding 81 crosses into the Fulham box.

As it turned out, the hosts scored from none of them as Robin van Persie's leveller came courtesy of an off-target Juan Mata shot before Carrick's powerful strike flicked in off Scott Parker a couple of minutes later.

It seemed United were heading for a precious win, only for Bent to flatten them once more.

"It's a tough one to take," said Carrick.

"It's hard to explain how we've only come away with a point.

"The game was so one-sided. I haven't been involved in something like that in my entire career."

Moyes branded it his lowest point to date.

If life had been difficult as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor prior to the turn of the year, it has suddenly become impossible.

They have won just three out of their nine games in 2014 so far and were denied a place at Wembley in a penalty shoot-out against Sunderland in the Capital One Cup semi-final which ranks as one of the worst of all time.

Even the good bits are causing problems.

The club record £37.1million arrival of Juan Mata from Chelsea was hailed as a master-stroke.

Yet fitting Mata into a team shape that also includes Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie seems to have stifled all three men to some extent.

Adnan Januzaj - United's player of the season - has been sparingly used of late and all those crosses, rather than an indication of a team's strength, actually shows up a chronic weakness given a club of that standing should be capable of playing through even the most congested of defences, to create an element of confusion at the very least.

The muddled approach highlights the obvious flaws.

United's defence, so often the cornerstone of success, is now creaking badly, their midfield lacks bite no matter who is deployed there.

Seeing currently injured Marouane Fellaini being escorted through Old Trafford to carry out a corporate demand indicates Moyes' approach to the transfer market has not worked either.

"I have been saying for quite a few months now we could do with a change of fortune," said Moyes.

"We needed to win the game.

"We had been 1-0 down for so long, but eventually we got the goals.

"In the last four or five minutes Fulham weren't coming up to the ball. They weren't necessarily trying to score another goal. But somehow they did."

The result just heaps even more pressure on Moyes, who has been consistently backed by the United hierarchy.

With even a place in next season's Champions League appearing a remote possibility, United may use their looming mini-break in Dubai to reshape their plans for the remainder of the campaign.

Before that though, they have a trip to Arsenal to negotiate on Wednesday.

"We'll be ready [for Arsenal]," said Carrick.

"We'll pick ourselves up and get back to training in the morning.

"It's one of those seasons - setback after setback. We have to believe that with performances, things are going to change.

"There's no better place to do that than on Wednesday night at Arsenal.

"We still believe we can go there and get the result we want."