Carrick looking forward to 'extra-special' Real Madrid showdown

With the Champions League tie still up for grabs after a draw in the Spanish capital, the Manchester United midfielder is expecting the second leg to go right to the wire.
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick is expecting Tuesday's Champions League quarterfinal second leg at home against Real Madrid to be an "extra-special" occasion.

After helping his side to secure a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg, the Red Devils star is in no doubt that the Old Trafford crowd will create an incredible atmosphere.

"The big European nights at home are always special occasions and, when Madrid come to town, it will be extra-special," Carrick told the official UEFA website.

With the tie tightly balanced after Danny Welbeck and Cristiano Ronaldo scored goals within 10 minutes of each other, the 31-year-old Carrick is expecting more of a tactical battle than an end-to-end thriller.

"At this stage of the competition, when two teams like this come together, sometimes it can be very tight and games can be won and lost on little details," Carrick explained. "Of course we will play our game and try to score goals but sometimes that's not possible, especially in games like this. I am sure Madrid are thinking the same thing."

The game marks Ronaldo's first return to Old Trafford since leaving to join Madrid in a world-record transfer deal back in 2009, and Carrick is expecting a warm reception for the Portuguese star.

"Everyone respects what he did at the club and how good he was," Carrick said.

With this year's final set to take place at Wembley Stadium, some have suggested that this will offer the Red Devils the opportunity to lay to rest the demons of their 2011 final defeat to Barcelona at the same venue. The England international is wary of focusing on retribution too early, though.

"In terms of putting that right, we can't, because the game is gone. We've got something else to achieve now and we'll try our utmost to do that," Carrick said. "Obviously, being at Wembley, it's an added incentive but we're not looking too far ahead. We are well aware of the tie that is immediately in front of us."

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