Manchester United are not playing at anything like their best but they are still in with a chance to win the Premier League title this season - they just need to stay in touch through the busy christmas period.
That is according to key man Michael Carrick, whose return to fitness at Old Trafford has coincided with five consecutive victories that have taken them to third in the Premier League behind rivals Manchester City and Chelsea.
Louis van Gaal’s team know a win over Liverpool this afternoon will keep them within five points of their local rivals and Carrick believes that just keeping in touch with the two teams in Blue will be enough for now, giving them a chance to spring a surprise challenge after the turn of the year.
"If we are in and around the top by Christmas or January then we are right in there with a chance," he said in an interview with the United Review.
"(Last weekend) was a big weekend with Chelsea losing at Newcastle and other results going for us. I think with this squad that we have, which is gradually improving and building, anything can happen.
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"It is all won and lost in the last two or three months of the season, so the aim is definitely to challenge.”
It was a difficult start to the season for Van Gaal, who was forced to deal with a raft of injuries and a squad that looked well short of confidence and form. Carrick was one of those missing for a significant period, but his return to the team has seen an upturn in results.
Things Can Change?
While it is generally agreed they have not been playing very well, Manchester United have a history of grinding out wins and Carrick believes the squad Van Gaal has at his disposal can build up a head for steam going into the latter stages of the season.
"In seasons when we have been successful, there have been periods when things haven't gone for us but we've found a way to get through it. I just feel the same as before - if we are near the top of the table after Christmas then we have a great shout of achieving something with the squad we've got."