MANCHESTER, United Kingdom - Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick believes the Premier League champions must start finishing teams off if they are to put their troubled start to the season behind them.
United, unusually, find themselves eight points adrift of leaders Arsenal heading into Saturday's match against Stoke at Old Trafford.
In their first season under new manager David Moyes following the retirement of Alex Ferguson, United have already suffered three defeats and two draws allied to just three wins in their opening eight league matches this term.
However, they continue to prosper in Europe though as they sit top of their group in the Champions League after Wednesday's 1-0 win over Spanish side Real Sociedad.
But consistent winning form has proved elusive for United, who last week could only manage a draw at home to Premier League surprise package Southampton.
England international Carrick, 32, urged United to start being ruthless in front of goal after they wasted a number of chances against the La Liga side in midweek having failed to see off Southampton.
"Of course our priority is climbing the league table," said Carrick.
"We haven't played too badly, especially against Southampton, but Saturday against Stoke is very important," he added.