Tim Sherwood reckons Manchester United are far better placed than Chelsea or Tottenham to pinch a fourth-placed finish in the Premier League this season and a highly-coveted Champions League spot.
United’s 2-0 win at Burnley on Saturday ensured they end the calendar year with just one defeat from their last nine matches; form which has seen them close within a point of Chelsea prior to the Blues’ match at Arsenal on Sunday.
Spurs, meanwhile, while under much-improved form since Jose Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino, missed a great chance to pile on the pressure in the race for fourth after being held to a disappointing 2-2 draw at Norwich on Saturday – a match in which the Portuguese bemoaned their defensive frailties.
And Sherwood reckons United have a great chance of returning to the Champions League, with all the momentum now with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
📆 Early November: 10 points off top four
📆 Late December: One point off top four
Manchester United end 2019 with just one defeat in nine with victory at Burnley 👊
Can they make the top four this season? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/5C9saom8h6
— TEAMtalk (@TEAMtalk) December 29, 2019
“Out of the three we are talking about, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United, I would have them as favourites, I would have Manchester United as favourites because I think they are only going to improve,” Sherwood told the Premier League.
“They need to get that level of consistency, they cannot suffer the performances they had against Watford – a team who couldn’t beat anyone – and then they get turned over.
“They are very good against the top teams, we are going to see that now.
“They’ve got Arsenal away, Wolves away, Man City at home, that’s normally when they are at their best, when a team comes out and plays against them and believes they can beat them.
“I believe Man United will counter attack those teams.”
Sherwood added: “I love those front players, what kills you is pace, when you line up against pace it frightens you to death as a manager and they have got it in abundance.
“But I think they’ve got a solid triangle there now, I think if [David] De Gea gets back to his best, [Victor] Lindelof has been outstanding in front and [Harry] Maguire looks like the player we saw at Leicester.
“That is massive for them if they can get the solidity for that defence.”
United’s top-four hopes have also been talked up by Solskjaer, who confidently stated after the win at Turf Moor: “We want to get there and we’re not far away.
“We did [challenge] towards the end of last season as well, we were close to the top four, but then we dropped off.
“Now they’ve responded to the defeat against Watford, I put a challenge to them and they’ve put my words to shame, so I’m very happy with them.”