Home News Erik Ten Hag sends out title race warning ahead of Leicester match. 

Erik Ten Hag sends out title race warning ahead of Leicester match. 

LEEDS, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Erik ten Hag, Manager of Manchester United, acknowledges the fans prior to the Premier League match between Leeds United and Manchester United at Elland Road on February 12, 2023 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Erik ten Hag has acknowledged for the first time that Manchester United could emerge as Premier League title contenders this season. 

Ever since Ten Hag first arrived at Old Trafford nine months ago, the Dutchman has made a top-four finish the realistic target for his first campaign as United manager.

But with the top two clubs, Manchester City and Arsenal, only five points ahead of United approaching the final third of the season, Ten Hag says his team need to make sure they are still in contention in April.

Erik ten Hag believes the Red Devils must ensure they are in contention in April. (Getty Images)
Man United were last crowned as Premier League champions back in 2013.(Getty Images)

Manchester United, who face Leicester City at Old Trafford on Sunday, haven’t been Premier League champions since Sir Alex Ferguson retired a decade ago.

Asked if he thinks the title is up for grabs this season, Ten Hag said: ‘What we have to do is to put us in the right position in April, so our thinking can only be on the next game. We always have to better than the previous game, and think about game for game – that is the energy and focus.”

Manchester United are just five points behind the Premier League leaders. (Getty Images)

It means that we have to win on Sunday and we have to collect the three points against Leicester. That demands a lot of energy and it demands high standards.’

Manchester United go into the game off the back of a hugely encouraging 2-2 draw with Barcelona in Thursday’s Europa League play-off first leg at the Nou Camp.

Ten Hag’s side were 14 minutes away from beating Barca on home turf for the first time, and the manner in which United controlled long periods, the manager admitted that it showed United are looking more like a club that deserves to be back on the Champions League stage.

‘We are in the right direction but we have to fight for it,’ he added. ‘That is two ways: one is the Europa League the other is in the Premier League. So we know what we have to do. We have to see it game to game, and to fight to get back into the Champions League.”

‘We are in the right direction so we have to keep this process going. We will analyse again and we will criticise – what went good, what went wrong and we move on. Sunday’s the next big game.”

Casemiro will be missing against Leicester on Sunday as he completes a three-match ban, and United will assess Antony and Scott McTominay who are close to returning from injury.

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