Sky Sports pundit Jame Carragher believes Manchester United’s season could well be defined by the result they get against Chelsea on Monday night.
The Red Devils go into the match six points off the Blues in fourth, and he thinks the outcome at Stamford Bridge will heavily impact on how people view Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s time in charge of the Manchester club:
“I think this one is a real big one. I don’t think it’s just about this season. Both managers, young managers, know it will have a big bearing on how they can do their job going forwards because Champions League football means more money, you can attract better players.”
“It just means they’re in a position then to have better seasons next season and also do a better job over the long term of the clubs that they’re at.”
Carragher even goes as far as predicting that Chelsea will be too difficult to catch if they do come out with a convincing win against United next week:
“Where Chelsea are at now and with the lead they have and being at home, if they could reverse the result they had at Old Trafford and get a win against Manchester United I think they’d be in too strong a position to be caught, certainly by Manchester United.”
There will still be 12 games to go after the clash between the two clubs, but nine points would be a sizeable gap to bridge in the closing months of the season.
In contrast, a victory for Solskjaer’s side could give them the momentum they need for the rest of the campaign. The Red Devils have some difficult fixtures coming up in March, against the like of Everton, Manchester City and Tottenham, and heading into those games off the back of some crucial wins will certainly be important.