Paul Lambert believes Manchester United can still win the Premier League title this season, despite their poor start to the campaign.
Having finished seventh under David Moyes last term, the aim for new head coach Louis van Gaal is to at the very least return the Reds into the top-four and the UEFA Champions League. Yet this looked as though it could be a tall order as they struggled for results early on, with no wins in their first three matches whilst Swansea City, Leicester City and rivals City have inflicted defeats.
Van Gaal has had to contend with an unusual number of injuries to key players, but then again, it also has to be taken into consideration that a huge amount of money was spent on the squad in the summer with the likes of Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Daley Blind brought in. And things are now finally beginning to happen for United, who have won their last six matches.
This has elevated them to third place in the standings, six point behind champions City and a further two behind leaders Chelsea. Not many pundits expect the Old Trafford giants to catch either of these sides before the end of the season, but Lambert, whose Aston Villa side take on van Gaal’s men in the Midlands on Saturday afternoon, insists they cannot be ruled out of the race.
“Manchester United might not be able to lose many more games if they are going to win the title but they’re certainly in with a shout,” said the Scottish coach. “It is still a brilliant club with great players. The players they have brought in, there are not many teams in world football who can do that. They’re a really good side. If United don’t win it they will certainly have a big say in who does.”
Whilst much has been made of United’s injury problems, it is worth noting that Villa will be without eight of their options this weekend. Tom Cleverley – ineligible anyway as he is still owned by Saturday’s opponents – is suspended, as are Alan Hutton and Kieran Richardson. Nathan Baker, Joe Cole, Libor Kozak, Philippe Senderos and Ashley Westwood, meanwhile, are injured.
Do United have a genuine chance of the title this season, or is third the best they can hope for? Let us know what you think by joining the discussion below.