Gary Neville believes that Manchester United have left themselves with too much to do in the Premier League title race, despite their recent six-game winning run. A 2-0 win over 10-man West Ham managed to keep United within touching distance of the top four. It has been a brilliant revival in form by the 2013 champions, but Neville says that their poor early-season form may have left the club with a lot of points to make up in the remaining 19 matches of the season. He says that the club cannot think about winning the title at this point, as their realistic option may be to challenge for the top four at the moment.
United have close to the gap on Chelsea to ten points, but the blues do have a game in hand over Tottenham. On a more positive front, their deficit over Liverpool has been reduced to just six points as United have been able to take advantage of the Merseyside outfit dropping points in the 2-2 draw against Sunderland. It has been a brilliant run of form from the Red Devils, but Neville says that the club should continue that form in the second half of the campaign in order to end on a positive note. Speaking on Sky Sports after Monday’s win, he said:
“They’ve probably left themselves with too much to do.
“The next league game is a really big one – at home against Liverpool. I think that game will really determine where Manchester United are at for the rest of this season.
“If they win that match then you would see them as dangerous because they are on the up.”
United were certainly fortunate to be playing against 10 men West Ham for much of the game, as the opposition seemed to have been harshly affected by the red card. Still, there can be no denying the fact that United have been on a stunning run of form in the last two months. Their last defeat in all competitions came away against Fenerbahce at the start of November. Since then, they have been undefeated in 13 games across all competitions.
After having been heavily focused on Premier League games in the last two months, attention will have to be balanced between the EFL Cup semifinals, FA Cup, and the Europa League knockout stages in the next two months. It would be interesting to see how United balance these run of games. The form in the last two months has largely been built upon a steady starting line-up, with Michael Carrick being one of the important elements. Once these competitions kick in, United will have to rotate the squad and this would mean shifting around the spine of the team.
Much of the good form has also been down to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goals, and it remains to be seen if the 35-year-old’s legs will be able to manage more than 50 games this season.
Neville may have been cautious about predicting United’s title chances largely due to their presence in three other competitions.