Ashley Young pinpoints where Manchester United's title bid went wrong and calls for strong finish

Mourinho's side tightened their grip on second place with a late 2-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Monday 30 April 2018 17:11
Ashley Young has enjoyed an impressive season at Manchester United
Ashley Young has enjoyed an impressive season at Manchester United

Ashley Young believes Manchester United need to “put down a marker” in their final three Premier League games of the season to prove they can challenge for the title next season.

Jose Mourinho’s side tightened their grip on second place with a late 2-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday – courtesy of Marouane Fellaini’s header from Young’s cross in stoppage time – but United remain 16 points away from champions Manchester City.

Young looks back to the winter for the reasons behind the gap between the two sides, a period which saw United suffer a home defeat to City and later draw three consecutive games against teams outside the ‘big six’.

United conceded late to draw 2-2 at Leicester City, came from 2-0 down to share the points with Burnley at home on Boxing Day then failed to break down relegation-threatened Southampton four days later.

“We have to put down a marker for next season with the way we perform from now on. It is building towards next season,” Young said.

“It has been one of those seasons when around Christmas we were drawing games, late goals against us and when you look back at those kind of games then you think the season could have been different.

“It wasn’t meant to be but we have to put down a marker against the top four, top six clubs, but it is more than that. We have to win at other clubs as well. We have to win more games than we have done.”

United can finish with a maximum points total of 86 points - enough to win the title in four of the last 10 top-flight seasons - and Young believes that should inspire hope for next year.

“It has been one of those seasons,” he said. “If we can finish with the number of points we know we can then it is a different season – and that points total, that would have won us the league, but it is not to be. We have to keep the momentum now.”

Young has been one of United’s most impressive performers this season, despite being one of the elder members of the squad and filling in as a makeshift left back.

The 33-year-old has made 27 league appearances so far this term – more than in any other year of his Old Trafford career since joining from Aston Villa in 2011.

“I still have the hunger and desire to win the same as I had when I was 21,” Young said. “I am nearly 33 now and getting on a bit but I still have that hunger and desire to go out and playing every game.

“I know my legs can still take me through games and I have showed that with the number of games I have played this season.”

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