Manchester United relying on Chelsea to slip up, says Gary Neville
Gary Neville has said that Manchester United must overcome their "disappointing week" by hoping for Chelsea to slip up in the title race.
United are now a point behind Carlo Ancelotti’s following their 0-0 draw at Blackburn on Sunday and Chelsea can stretch their lead to four points if they win their game in hand at home to Bolton on Tuesday.
Just two weeks after holding genuine hopes if a Premier League and Champions League double, United face ended the season with only the Carling Cup in the Old Trafford trophy cabinet after costly defeats against Bayern Munich and Chelsea.
While the picture in the Premier League appears bleak for United, Chelsea’s difficult away trips to Spurs and Liverpool could yet re-open the door for Sir Alex Ferguson’s team if they win all of their remaining games.
And United captain Neville insists that United must simply get on with the job, despite seeing their season crumble in recent days.
Neville told the Times of Malta: “There is no doubt that it has been a disappointing week and we can't get away from that.
“To lose to Chelsea and lose our position at the top of the league, and then be knocked out of the Champions League, is the worst thing that could have happened.
“At a club like Manchester United we do have great highs, but because we compete in the biggest competitions we do suffer sometimes as well.
“We are disappointed because we wanted to go as far as we could in the Champions League. To get to the final three years on the trot was a great incentive for us and it has not happened.
“But we pick ourselves up at this club, we never get too carried away by success and we never get too disappointed by a defeat to the point where we let it affect our next performance.
“Football always gives you an opportunity to respond and that is what we have to do now.
“Anytime Manchester United don't win a major trophy we look at it as a disappointment, but we're not thinking about that at this moment in time. It's not even a thought in our heads.
“(Being second) is not the ideal position to be in but we have to make sure we do our job so if they (Chelsea) do slip up we can take our opportunity.”
United’s exit at the Champions League quarter-final stage ensured no English involvement in the semi-finals following Arsenal’s elimination at the same stage and the earlier exits of Chelsea and Liverpool, who were relegated to the Europa League after crashing out at the group stage.
But Neville has dismissed claims that the Premier League has now been overtaken by the rest of Europe.
He said: “I don't agree with suggestions that the Premier League is in decline because none of our teams made it to the semi-finals this year.
“We're talking about very fine lines between success and failure. We are one of the best leagues in Europe and that doesn't change because of a couple of disappointing results.
“We would have been in the semi-finals if it wasn't for such fine lines.”