Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes Manchester United must beat Tottenham Hotspur to preserve any hopes of breaching the top four this season.
Everton’s late equaliser on Sunday left Jose Mourinho‘s men nine points adrift of fourth spot, compounding their woeful record of just two Premier League wins since August.
Man United, now in sixth, take on fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday and will reduce the gap between themselves and Mauricio Pochettino’s side to just three points with a win.
Carragher, speaking in the wake of United’s 1-1 draw with Everton, claimed that United simply must beat Spurs to keep their Champions League hopes alive.
“There’s no doubt Manchester United will have Spurs in their eyes in terms of the team that they probably have to catch,” he said.
“A Spurs win would put Manchester United in a really difficult position. Manchester United will look at it as a game that if they win, they’ll be right back in contention.
“Three points is nothing. If it went to nine, it is looking really difficult for Manchester United to get in the top four.”
It may only be December, but this Sunday’s game with Spurs really does feel like a cup final. A combination of Manchester City beating Leicester City and Spurs winning at Old Trafford would leave Mourinho’s men nine points off fifth and a further 12 off fourth spot. Such a gap feels too large.
A win on Sunday, however, could exercise a galvanising force over the side’s entire season. It would break the gloomy spell of four Premier League home games without a win, alongside invoking some much-needed positivity ahead of the busy Christmas period.