Football: De Gea urges United to get a leg up on rivals

Manchester United's David De Gea thinks his team is in good form.
Manchester United's David De Gea thinks his team is in good form.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • David de Gea has challenged Manchester United to get as close as possible to runaway leaders Chelsea as Jose Mourinho's side battle to finish in the top four.

It is one of the English Premier League's stranger statistics that United have not moved from sixth position for three months, despite being unbeaten for 15 matches in the competition.

Yet having beaten Leicester 3-0 last Sunday, Mourinho's men could finally climb a place or two should they beat Watford today, as long as Liverpool and Arsenal slip up.

"I think we're in good form. We're on a 15-match unbeaten run in the league," United 'keeper de Gea said.

"The team are doing well. We must continue down this route to get into the top four as soon as possible."

Mourinho, however, urged caution at his pre-match conference yesterday, pointing to Watford as a well-organised team potent on the counter-attack.

"I know they are very difficult. They are very defensive but there are teams that are defensive and not well organised," the United manager said.

"That's not Watford's case. Walter (Mazzarri) is a very good coach, the team is very well organised and then they have this capacity of being dangerous on the counter-attack and at set-pieces with a very physical team."

Watford head to Old Trafford in buoyant mood, following the unexpected victory at Arsenal with last weekend's home win against Burnley.

The victories have moved Mazzarri's side up to 10th and silenced suggestions the Italian's position was under threat after seven league games without a win.

The contributions of M'Baye Niang, Mauro Zarate and Tom Cleverley - the club's January signings - have helped turn things around and Mazzarri is confident there is more to come from his players.

"I'm speaking with Niang every day," the Italian said. "I treat him as if he were my son. I'm also asking for suggestions and I think he listens to me as well."



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2017, with the headline 'De Gea urges United to get a leg up on rivals'. Print Edition | Subscribe