Resolute Manchester United keep top four hopes alive

by Leon Thompson April 29, 2017, 23:54
Resolute Manchester United keep top four hopes alive

Whether City ends up in third, fourth or outside the Champions League places, the Spanish coach will have to reflect on having been unable to meet the club's lofty expectations.

Van Gaal was sacked last May after winning the FA Cup but failing to qualify for the Champions League.

"United and City are always fighting for the title, every year", he added.

"All the time when we finish above them during the season it means City is improving very well".

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With away games to come at Arsenal, Tottenham and Southampton, the league run-in is hard. While Fellaini's "head-butt" seemed to lack the force to knock over a kitten, much less Aguero, it was still a reckless move to even be in that situation and a veteran such as him should know better.

"They had more ball, they had more chances but I have to defend the players and the spirit of my players and say they were unbelievable the way they fight", he said, after his team extended their unbeaten run to 24 games.

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Of their remaining fixtures, the most hard is a home game against West Bromwich Albion who have won one match in 37 years in the blue half of Manchester. "When he arrived, his impact was fantastic in the team".

And Lampard, who spent a season at City in the 2014-15 campaign after ending his 13-year stint at Chelsea, thinks Guardiola may have demanded too much from the squad he inherited from Manuel Pellegrini.

Guardiola could at least take heart from the performance of central defender Vincent Kompany.

He praised United's pace on the break but feels City were somewhat unlucky not to emerge with three valuable points in the race for a top-four place.

Meanwhile, City striker Sergio Agüero has admitted he has had a battle to win Guardiola's trust and accepted that at some stage he will have to step aside for Gabriel Jesus, the young Brazilian who returned from a long injury lay-off against United. "It's not easy to play against (United's Marcus) Rashford and, in the first minutes, (Henrik) Mkhitaryan".

The players still fit and available face another seven matches in 22 days - or eight in 25 if they reach the Europa League final - and Carrick is focused on the job at hand.

Victory for City against struggling Middlesbrough would help Toure's team ensure they finish above United for the fifth time in six seasons.

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