Manchester United didn’t manage to beat Crystal Palace at the Selhurst Park on Wednesday night and are now 14 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.
While Pep Guardiola‘s side seem to be the undisputed favourites to win the league this season, the top-four battle is now even tighter, with the Red Devils, Leicester City, West Ham, Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur all aspiring to clinch Champions League qualification for next season.
When Manchester United went top of the Premier League back on January 12, many considered Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side as genuine contenders for the Premier League title.
However, since then the Red Devils have grabbed just three wins in ten games, failing to score in four of them, all of which ended in goalless draws.
“It’s not what we want, but that’s the football we’re playing in,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports after their latest draw against Crystal Palace.
“We’re in the Premier League and you have to play better to win games.
“We know we’re in a battle to be as high in the table as possible. You sometimes see results that go the way we don’t expect.
“We know we’re in a fight and we need to pick up every point we can.”
Trying to find an explanation about the team’s recent results, former Manchester United right-back Gary Neville pointed to the players’ dull performance on the pitch.
“They let games drift for large periods,” said the Sky Sports pundit.
“That’s happened in the big games where there’s been that lack of urgency and belief but now it’s starting to come against the teams at the bottom of the league.
“They are sleepwalking in games. They are thinking that they are okay, they will get a goal, because many times this season they have played badly in first halves of matches and then gone and won the second half. But now it’s not happening for them.
“You’ve got to have performances. You will get results sometimes when you play badly, but eventually it will catch you out. You need performances.”
Twelve points separate eighth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who have two games in hand, with second-top Manchester United.
Meanwhile, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton all aspire to a top four finish, as failing to make it to next season’s Champions League group stage could translate into a hard financial blow for the Premier League’s so-called big six.