Michael Carrick insists Manchester United will not be taking the challenge of Crystal Palace lightly in the Carling Cup quarter-final.

After beating Leeds United and Aldershot Town in previous rounds, the draw was once again kind to the Red Devils, providing Football League opposition for a third consecutive time in the competition.

However, Carrick insists that Dougie Freedman's side will not be overlooked when they arrive at Old Trafford tomorrow night, with a plethora of good sides remaining in the competition.

"This year there are still big teams left in it. Certain years in the past, there have been a few lesser teams. This competition is very strong," he told the official Manchester United website.

"Come the quarter-finals you take it seriously, of course you do. We are not taking Crystal Palace lightly. It is just an opportunity to be successful and keep our run going.

"There is no harm in getting into the habit of winning games, no matter what competition it's in."

The England international is well aware that the League Cup has been low on the list of priorities for a number of clubs, including United, in the past.

But Carrick believes times are changing, as shown by the list of teams remaining in the tournament at this stage, and that the opportunity for young players to make their mark makes it worthwhile for all the top sides.

"Some people have written the competition off as not being so important, but lifting that trophy in February gives you a great feeling. It gives you a lot of belief going into the end of the season, not just as players but as a club," he added.

"This is a great place to learn your trade. It's about going to that next step when you have the opportunity. There are not a load of opportunities to come into the first-team.

"The Carling Cup is probably the best way to establish yourself and I'm sure they'll take the opportunity with both hands if it arises."

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