Former Manchester United boss Ron Atkinson has claimed that the usual fierce derbies vs Manchester City are going to be even bigger now given how the Premier League table currently looks.
The Red Devils are eight points away from their rivals and a win against the Sky Blues can suddenly close the gap to five points, possibly making City nervous enough to drop even more points.
Pep Guardiola’s men have been in fine form this season and while Jose Mourinho’s players haven’t done poorly themselves, they haven’t been as good as their cross town neighbours.
Mourinho’s record against top teams haven’t been particularly great and the recent fixtures vs Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea all could have gone better.
Atkinson believes though that a win against Pep would be huge and could suddenly thrust United back into title contenders once more.
Ron said on MUTV: “Obviously it puts a big emphasis now on the derby game in about three weeks time.
“If you win that and all of a sudden the people who are down today could say that’s the league won. It already is a big game but it has become massive now.”
A loss against Manchester City could effectively end United’s title aspirations unless by the time the match comes around, Guardiola’s players drop significant points.
Given their consistency in the league so far though, it’s tough to imagine that happening and Jose will really have to pull a real tactical masterclass to come away with all three points.
A draw may keep the team’s head above water but in truth, a win is needed desperately to close the gap and to improve Mourinho’s record vs the top six Premier League teams.
Whatever happens, the Portuguese manager will know that should he not deliver this year, he will certainly have to next year, otherwise his job at Old Trafford may be at risk.