Phil Neville has made it clear that Manchester United simply have to claim three points on their visit to Chelsea this weekend.
Jose Mourinho‘s men have only suffered one defeat since the UEFA Super Cup and currently lie in second place, but remain five points behind leaders Manchester City.
And they travel to Stamford Bridge having claimed wins – all clean sheets – over Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur and Benfica over the past week.
Writing in a column for Sky Sports, Neville made it clear that Man United need to make a statement by beating Chelsea at their own ground.
“Manchester United’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday is a huge game for the Premier League title race,” he said. “We saw what Manchester City did to Chelsea, beating them 1-0 and probably producing one of the best performances we’ve seen in three or four seasons.”
“United have to win the game. I don’t think a draw is good enough but I think they are ready to win a game of this magnitude.”
“Chelsea have the players to hurt you with Eden Hazard coming back to form. Will Jose look to man-mark him with Ander Herrera? Tactically I think it will be another game where he comes up with a plan to win the game.”
Pep Guardiola set a clear benchmark to Mourinho by not just winning at Stamford Bridge but dominating as well and United will need to do the same if they are to be taken as a genuine threat to Manchester City this season.
But this game is about more than just keeping up with the title race. Since 2002, United have only won at Stamford Bridge once in the Premier League – and that was against nine men. The definition of a bogey ground.
Winning there would not just confirm United’s title credentials, but indeed reveal a capacity to win games in a different, more Mourinho-esque way, and that could be vital going forward.