Following on from Monday night’s Manchester derby, there has been little talk of the title race being back on, despite Manchester City coming out on top at Old Trafford.
Victory for Roberto Mancini’s side saw the gap reduced to 12 points with seven games remaining and it appears the feeling within the United camp is one of caution rather than complacency.
At least that’s the view of winger Antonio Valencia who spoke with Ecuadorian radio station Sonorama:
“We’re a little worried. It has already happened to us,” Valencia said.
“Last year, having eight points with seven games to go we lost the league, and now we have seven games, twelve points and we don’t want this to happen again.”
The Ecuadorian was keen to focus on the upcoming games against Stoke and West Ham rather than getting caught up on Monday nights defeat:
“We want to finish off the two games that are coming as soon as possible, starting off in the right way and ending up victorious.”
Valencia has struggled for form this season in stark contrast to last term when he was voted the club’s Player of the Season by his peers.
United’s latest number seven has begun to find his form again in patches, particularly impressing for Ecuador whilst away on international duty recently, but only featured for the final 10 minutes of the crunch rivals clash on Monday, a fact that disappointed Valencia.
“They are the manager’s decisions [to make], but I was still a bit upset,” he added.
“In such an important game, to be not taken into account as a starter is upsetting.”
“Ten minutes is very short for such a tight, difficult game. The important thing is to come on and play, but yeah, you become restless waiting for the next game and wanting to play 90 minutes.”
With four away games in the remaining seven fixtures and tricky ties against Arsenal and Chelsea to come, United can ill afford to take their eyes of the prize and assume the job is done.
The noises within the camp are that won’t be the case and the ghost of last year’s final day heartbreak seems to be still lingering over some of the squad; the job for Sir Alex Ferguson is to ensure it serves as motivation not distraction.
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