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Manchester United just need to keep on winning says a confident Antonio Valencia

Manchester United right-back Antonio Valencia has stated that he believes all the club can continue doing during the busy festive period is to win their matches. After the defeat to Manchester City in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford last weekend, United saw City’s lead extend to eleven points with many pundits and journalists saying the title race is over. United seem determined to claw back the deficit though.

United recovered from their derby defeat with a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday and City beat Swansea City 4-0 on the road. There are four more Premier League matches before the end of the month with United taking on West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, then Leicester City the day before Christmas Eve, Burnley on Boxing Day and Southampton the day before New Year’s Eve. Speaking to the official Manchester United website, Valencia feels the festive period is a great opportunity to pick up plenty of points, maybe seeing others drop points.

“The important thing we have to do now is win,. We can’t really afford to lose or even draw, it’s about focusing ourselves and our objectives on winning as many games as we can and hoping that anyone above us slips up now and again.

“When it’s a packed fixture calendar like we have currently, it’s really important to follow step by step what the physios and medical team give us in terms of advice. It might be about how we recuperate, what we eat… anything that can help aid the recovery period between games because we have one every few days. It’s always really important to take their advice but especially when it’s a very packed schedule like it is now.”

United will be in action in the Premier League, Carabao Cup, and the Emirates FA Cup between now and when the UEFA Champions League returns in February with United being drawn against La Liga Sevilla in the last 16 of the competition. Jose Mourinho’s side could have found themselves being drawn against Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Juventus – getting an easier run in the competition instead. Valencia stated that United should not take the draw too favourable as Sevilla will be tough opposition, saying:

“When you get to this stage of the competition, teams who are still in it are there for a reason so we know Sevilla will be a real challenge. Whenever we’ve played against Spanish opposition in the past, they have always been set up very well and they’re very strong tactically. We go to their place first and we know we’ll have to perform just how Manchester United can perform and, if we get a good result over there, hopefully we can bring them back to Old Trafford and do the business and qualify.

“There are no easy games in the last 16 and I’ve said before that, whichever team plays against Manchester United, is always motivated and it’s the same in Europe. They give that extra little bit of themselves to perform even better than they would normally. We know it will be quite difficult going there and they’ll want to give a good account of themselves in front of their own supporters.

“It’s quite a way off but let’s hope, when we get to that game, we’re in good form and we can make sure we go and get a good result. I think both legs will be quite entertaining affairs.”

United will face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns at 14:15 GMT on Sunday, seeking to keep winning in the Premier League, hoping that Tottenham Hotspur may end City’s unbeaten run in the Premier League this season – not that favours are something United will be wanting or expecting. The media have been singing City’s praises for the last few weeks, even with Alan Shearer suggesting City are the best team in the history of football, which is a pathetic statement as they have not won anything.

I am sure the media will continue to praise City, which is something they have become accustomed to over the last few years, praising their all singing and all dancing Academy, which is that good it does not have a continuous line of talent queueing to join the first team, instead the genius of Pep Guardiola has spent hundreds of millions in bringing in talent, which should have been created by the best Academy in England, surely. The media can write Manchester United off, but until it is mathematically impossible for another club to win the league, there is still time to challenge.

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