Sport Soccer

Saturday 19 October 2019

Milner to become Manchester United fan for first time as title race goes to wire

Manchester City will reclaim top spot by winning derby game at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Liverpool’s James Milner will become a Manchester United supporter for the first time on Wednesday (Adam Davy/PA)
Liverpool’s James Milner will become a Manchester United supporter for the first time on Wednesday (Adam Davy/PA)

By Phil Blanche, Press Association Sport

James Milner admits he will become a Manchester United supporter for the first time as Liverpool hope for an advantage in the Premier League title race.

Milner counts United’s three great rivals – Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester City – on a 17-year playing CV that has seen him rack up more than 600 senior games.

But the 33-year-old midfielder will put history to one side in the Manchester derby on Wednesday when  City meet United at Old Trafford.

The derby is City’s game in hand on Liverpool and victory will restore their one-point lead at the top with three matches of the season remaining.

“First time in my life,” Milner said about his support for United this week.

“But I won’t be watching. It’s a bit of a waste of energy, willing the ball in the other goal.

I won't be watching. It's a bit of a waste of energy, willing the ball in the other goal. James Milner on this week's Manchester derby

“I can’t do anything about it. I’ll maybe put my phone away for a few hours and check it after.

“I’ve no idea what I’ll do, maybe go out for some food.”

Liverpool maintained their challenge for a first domestic title since 1990 with a 2-0 victory at Cardiff on Sunday.

Milner converted a late penalty to score his seventh goal of the season and secure a precious three points.

Liverpool have relegated Huddersfield and Wolves to play at home and Newcastle away.

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Milner scores Liverpool’s second goal in their 2-0 win at Cardiff from the penalty spot (David Davies/PA)

City’s remaining fixtures are at United, Burnley and Brighton and at home to Leicester.

On City’s run-in, Milner said: “There’s three games left after that (United).

“People think United is a challenge, but it’s not the only one.

“It’s an old cliche, but the Premier League is tough – whoever you play, teams battling at the bottom.

“Go back to QPR (when Milner won the title at Man City on the final day) and it’s not easy when you’re playing to win a league title.

Liverpool’s win at Cardiff was their 27th from 35 games and set a new Premier League points record for the club.

The Reds now have 88 points, two more than Rafael Benitez’s side managed 10 years ago in finishing runners-up to Manchester United.

“We just need to win the rest of our games,” Milner said.

“If we do that and it’s not good enough then you have to hold your hands up and say ‘well done City’.

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates after the weekend win over Tottenham (Martin Rickett/PA)

“They are a top team, they have done it before and are grinding it out.

“It’s frustrating to think we’ve had one defeat all year and it might not be enough.

“But all we can do is win the rest of our games and put them under pressure.”

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