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Man United: Villa and Spurs ‘worried’ by Premier League table, says Roy Keane

Roy Keane says Aston Villa and Tottenham will be “worried” by Manchester United’s improved form after Erik ten Hag’s side beat the Villans to give their hopes of qualifying for the Uefa Champions League a lift.

Scott McTominay’s 86th-minute header closed the gap between United and fifth-placed Villa to five points as the visitors won 2-1 at Villa Park.

Fifth place in the Premier League is likely to be enough for a Champions League spot in 2024/25, and United are a further point behind fourth-placed Spurs after a third successive top-flight victory.

“It’s a big win,” said former United captain Keane. “It’s a huge, huge goal for Manchester United.

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“They’ve got that momentum. The teams above them – particularly Villa and Tottenham – will be worried. They’re scoring goals and the signs look better than they did a couple of months ago.”

Man United must ‘catch up’ – Ten Hag

United endured a poor first half of the season but are unbeaten in six matches in all competitions since a 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest on December 30, although they were also five points shy of fifth at that point.

Their performances have not been entirely convincing, including a draw with Spurs, a last-gasp win at Wolves and a scare at fourth-tier Newport County in the FA Cup.

“We have to catch up,” Ten Hag said of the Premier League table. “We’ve known for a long time that we got ourselves in this situation.

 

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“There are many games to play but we are returning. There is a long way to go and we have to play our game.

“We have to go from game to game. We can’t lay back. When we were winning the game, we gave away the initiative.

“We wanted to stay on the front foot, keep the initiative and score a second goal. The spirit is there and we kept the belief to get the win.”

Ten Hag praised McTominay as an “example for many other players nowadays” after the midfielder scored shortly after entering as a substitute.

“There are not many players who can come off the bench and bring this energy,” he said. “He is ready for every minute – always contributing.

“Football is a team sport and we often forget that. Scott is always giving the spirit. In the week, when he is training, he is… always doing the right things, working on himself, giving the max.

“He’s ready for one minute or 90 minutes. It’s great to have such a player.”

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