Michael Carrick has warned Schalke to forget any prospect of Manchester United taking it easy at Old Trafford next week. The pair square up for a second time on Wednesday, with a place in the UEFA Champions League final at stake.
United are overwhelming favourites after a 2-0 win in Germany which, if anything, did not do justice to their dominance. Patrice Evra has already stated complacency is the only thing that can stop the Red Devils reaching Wembley on 28 May.
And although Carrick does not think it will happen, he is not alone in expressing a determination not to play safe. "We will attack the game as we normally do at home," he said. "There is no chance of us looking for a draw or being happy to scrape through.
"We respect Schalke for how well they have done in the competition this season, so we will not be taking it easy at all. We have got lots of big games coming up and we want to keep up that momentum."
However, even United manager Sir Alex Ferguson must be aware it will be virtually impossible to match his side's first-half performance last week. The incredible fact about a 45-minute period in which they carved Schalke apart at will was that they failed to take any of their 11 clear-cut chances.
It was not until Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney scored in a three-minute period after half-time that United got some reward for their dominance, which in itself was a useful test of character. "That first half was as well as we had played in Europe for a while," Carrick added.
"At this stage of the competition it is never easy to control and dominate a game. But we had a game plan and executed it pretty well. Even at half-time, we didn't allow ourselves to get frustrated. We remained patient and it paid off in the end."
Much has been said about the merits of Ferguson's present squad. However, there is little doubt the United boss has options which will grow on Wednesday thanks to the availability of Darren Fletcher after his recent virus.
It means that, at a time of the season when most players are starting to feel their aching bones, United's squad is strong and firing on all cylinders. "We thrive on all these big games," Carrick added. "We want to be playing in matches like this and they are coming thick and fast now.
"If you want to be successful, this is the kind of fixture list you just have to accept. It is why we are here. It is not going to be a problem. At this stage of the season, it is pretty easy to switch your focus and keep motivated."