Man Utd’s major top four warning and why Chelsea must be taken seriously
Manchester United have been warned by former striker Dimitar Berbatov that Chelsea are still a force to be reckoned with ahead of their crucial top-four showdown this Sunday.
United head to Stamford Bridge with a six-point lead over Thomas Tuchel’s fifth-place side up in second, meaning a win will put them in a strong position to seal Champions League qualification for next season.
They are up against a team in form, nevertheless, with the Blues avoiding defeat in their first eight outings under new head coach Tuchel and most recently claiming a 1-0 win away at Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
United still have faint hopes of catching runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City, who are currently 10 points clear of their neighbours at the summit.
However, Berbatov has admitted it is “extremely unlikely” they will do so, while urging his former club not to let Chelsea cut the gap to three points on Sunday.
He told Betfair: “A six point gap is nothing in the Premier League so a top four finish is by no means guaranteed for Manchester United, especially as they have dropped points recently. Hopefully they will become more consistent again and secure qualification for next season's Champions League.
“In the Premier League, though, teams from across the table can take points off each other, so nothing is guaranteed in the race for positions.
“Man City are in incredible shape with 17 wins in a row – that is some achievement. It's extremely unlikely that United will be able to catch them but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men need to keep winning and try to improve on last season's third-place finish.”
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Berbatov added: “Chelsea are always a force to reckon with. They have been champions of England more recently than United, they have great players and an impressive new manager.
“United need to be careful and focused when they go to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, because if they lose the Blues will be within three points of them in the table.
“The Red Devils need to prepare well and either win or draw the game, otherwise the gap is getting smaller.
“It is a big game for both teams and it is different when you play a team like Chelsea. It is about having concentration in that specific 90 minutes so you win the game no matter what.
“I hope United win because it will be a great way of saying to Chelsea that we are still better than you. However, every game is different so you never know how these games will play out.
“Chelsea are in good form at the moment under Tuchel. United are usually very concentrated and motivated against big teams like Chelsea. The concentration factor will be the most important.
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“These big games are always difficult where you are seeing top players with technical ability and also great defenders who command the pitch. You have to bring your A-game and be ready to compete.
“These are the games where you need to show the world what you're made of. You need to be motivated when you play against Chelsea.”
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