Michael Carrick would like to achieve more than just a top four finish in his first season as Manchester United captain.

The Europa League champions have finished their last four league campaigns in seventh, fourth, fifth and sixth place with the race for a top four position getting harder each season.

However, Carrick, who has won the league five times with the Red Devils, wants his side to set the goal of winning the league instead of just aiming for the Champions League spots.

"I can't get my head round that, to say top four is acceptable," Carrick said, as quoted by The Times.

"I know we've had changes and adjusted as players have come in and out, and you can't expect to win the league every year, but you've got to set out to win the league.

"It's pretty much win the league or nothing for me. It's another one gone by if you haven't won it. That's the way I see it. We want to win and we'll be giving everything to do that."

Former United captain Wayne Rooney recently claimed that both he and Carrick were trying to maintain the standards of the club set by Sir Alex Ferguson, but that the task had been difficult in recent times.

"That's fair comment from Wayne," Carrick explained. "That's just how it works. When I came to the club I had players for whom it was down to them to keep the standards up."

"Obviously as time goes by and people leave that changes — that responsibility of trying to lead and take a certain direction fell to us because we are here the longest.

"So it was up to us with our experience to try and guide the lads. I'm not saying we are always right, but you've got to take what you've learnt and put it into practice. There have been times in the league when standards have dropped — there's no hiding from that."

The former Tottenham player will turn 36 next week and will decide at the end of the next campaign if he will keep playing at the top level. As for a successor for the captain's armband, manager Jose Mourinho has earmarked Paul Pogba for the role and Carrick does not disagree with that choice.

"He's [Pogba] certainly got the presence, character and belief to pull it off," Carrick added. "I'm sure the manager is planning a long way behind me, for someone to take on that mantle and he's probably in that bracket where you'd say, 'yeah, he can be a future captain'."

Michael Carrick
Carrick in pre-season action for United Getty