United fly out to Turkey this morning knowing victory in tomorrow's tussle with Bursaspor will take them onto 10 points, which Sir Alex Ferguson always feels is sufficient to reach the last 16.
Being in such a position at this early stage certainly lends weight to the argument that new rules introduced at the start of last season which allow clubs from a greater number of countries to participate have reduced the overall quality.
But that is not a viewpoint that Carrick shares.
"The Champions League is not easier than it used to be," said the England international.
"In terms of the stature and history of the clubs, it might not be as good, but the games are still tough, especially away from home.
"People might point to our away record, which is very good, but all those matches have been hard.
"Travelling to Turkey, for instance, presents you with a long journey and a different type of atmosphere. You are encountering players that you don't see every week.
"It brings a different challenge to Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
"It is something you have to face if you want to continue in the competition."
Ferguson certainly has no intention of excusing anyone the arduous eight-hour round-trip which will end around 4.15am on Wednesday morning - hardly the ideal preparation for a weekend encounter with Wolves.
As both Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen have already been ruled out, Ferguson's striking resources are stretched, although it was in their last away outing - in Valencia - that Javier Hernandez proved his worth with a late winner.
It was man of the moment Nani who scored the only goal when United met Bursaspor in a largely drab game a fortnight ago, played out in the midst of the Rooney contract saga.
All that has now been settled, which should offer a slightly easier build-up for Ferguson and his team as they head to Turkey.
"We prepare as well as we can and watch them as often as we can," said Carrick.
"It is new and it is an experience. But whoever we play, we feel as though we have a great chance of winning if we do well.
"That is what we focus on."
Source: Team Talk