09 Mar Blind: Champions League ‘not out of reach’
Daley Blind is confident Manchester United can finish their season of “ups and downs” strongly.
United remain in two cups, facing Liverpool away this Thursday then at home a week later in the first and second legs of their Europa League last-16 tie, either side of Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against West Ham at Old Trafford.
In the Barclays Premier League they are still in the hunt for a top-four spot, although their hopes suffered a blow with Sunday’s 1-0 loss at West Brom.
It left them sixth, three points off fourth-placed Manchester City, who have 10 league games left while United have nine.
The defeat at The Hawthorns followed a run of four straight wins in all competitions which had suggested the Red Devils were finally starting to find some proper rhythm again in what has been a troubled campaign.
Blind, who has been playing in the centre of United’s defence, admits it has been mixed season, but is feeling positive looking at how it might pan out from here, particularly given the club’s lengthy injury list is starting to reduce.
“I think it’s a season with ups and downs. We have played many good games but we lost a few as well,” Blind told United Review.
“I think we are improving as a team and can move on from here.
“The most important thing is this team sticks together. We have done all season, even when we’ve had bad results. That shows the strength of the dressing room.
“It (a top-four finish) is not out of reach. Still, anything is possible.
“We have some players coming back now from injuries, which enables us to have a bigger squad again.
“We are still in the race for a trophy and the top four. We can finish strongly and I have a lot of faith in us doing that.”
The Holland international is pleased with his individual form in what is his second season with United, and is more than happy for his fixture schedule to remain busy for the rest of the campaign.
“If I look to me personally, I feel I’ve played a good season, a consistent season,” said Blind, who turns 26 on Wednesday.
“I feel good in that position at the moment. I’ve improved a lot this season in the centre.
“I have showed it’s not only about strength but also about quick thinking and being in the right position.”
Regarding the matches coming up, starting with Thursday’s Anfield clash, Blind added: “It is always better to play lots of games as I always like it more to play a game rather than train.
“So I am happy with how many games we are playing. I am fit and am going to be ready for them.
“Liverpool will be a great game to play in, especially as it’s now in the Europa League.
“It’s very important for us. They will say it’s important for them too so we have to show that we want it more.
“I’ve definitely got some good memories against Liverpool – I hope we can create some more.”
Meanwhile, Guillermo Varela has expressed his desire to be part of the United side long-term.
The 22-year-old right-back – who recently received a maiden call-up to the Uruguay national squad – broke into the United first team earlier this season and has made eight senior appearances so far.
And Varela told MUTV: “I feel enormous pride in being able to play for a club like Manchester United.
“I want to keep working to keep a regular place in the team so that in time I can reach 50, 100 or 200 games in the shirt.”