03 Mar Herrera targets top four
Ander Herrera believes Manchester United’s timely four-match winning run has made “everything” possible.
In little over a week the mood around Old Trafford has lifted considerably, thanks to the emergence of exciting young talents and a string of victories.
The FA Cup defeat of Shrewsbury and Europa League mauling of Midtjylland was followed by Sunday’s Marcus Rashford-inspired 3-2 win against title-chasing Arsenal.
Juan Mata’s late free-kick saw United run out 1-0 victors against Watford on Wednesday to maintain that momentum, moving them level on points with fourth-place Manchester City.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have a game in hand but the midweek slip-ups by those sat in the Champions League places has led confidence to build at Old Trafford.
“We are showing passion,” midfielder Herrera said. “We fight to the end.
“We show when we don’t play good we can win. I think that the attitude is very good.
“I am optimistic because we can still fight for everything. We want to be in the top four.
“We know it’s not easy because our opponents are tough – but we are Man United: we have to win.
“We have three competitions to play and we are going to fight to the end.”
Herrera was not at his most effective on Wednesday, although few United players reached anywhere near their best against an impressive Watford side.
The wind whipping around Old Trafford did not help, but Herrera believes the fact they eked out the three points underlines their strength of character.
“We didn’t play well,” he told MUTV. “We couldn’t move the ball from side to side in the first half.
“We were not so good with the ball in the beginning. We gave them some chances – but if you want to win the race for the top four we want to learn to win these sort of games.
“When you have players like Juan who can make the difference it is much better. We know that a few weeks ago we didn’t play so good.
“We lost matches we shouldn’t have lost, but we have choices: we can give up and the other one is to fight to the end. That’s what we are going to do.”
Herrera will be aware how unfortunate Watford were to leave the north west empty-handed.
Odion Ighalo had a string of first-half chances and Sebastian Prodl threatened from set-pieces after the break, frustrating the Austrian defender greatly.
“It is a nightmare result,” Watford defender Prodl said. “We were the better team here for 80-90 minutes.
“You feel good when you are the dominating team against Manchester United. We lost to an amazing free-kick. We had chances to score five goals.
“Our performance was one of the best of the season. It is hard to say that because we lost the game, but if we carry on like this we will earn a lot of points between now and the end of the season.
“We have to focus on (Saturday’s match against) Leicester now. It is a great game. We have shown today that we can compete with every team in the league.”