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"There can be a very fine line between winning and losing the title. On Sunday afternoon we’re going to be on one of those lines and at ten to five, we'll be either over it or under it."

- Denis Irwin

12/05/2012 08:25, Report by Adam Bostock
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Run-in pundits: Irwin

ManUtd.com assembled a trio of experts to dissect the title race before each round of fixtures in April and May. To round off the series, United legend and MUTV pundit Denis Irwin gives us his thoughts ahead of Sunday's decisive games at Sunderland and the Etihad Stadium...

It’s been a roller-coaster last month and a half. Obviously we’ve lost to Wigan and Man City but I think myself and a lot of other fans feel the two points dropped against Everton were two massive points really, particularly as we were at home. You don’t want to drop points at home. After that match, the title was in both teams’ hands until City beat us in the following game.

It's not nice going into the final game relying on someone else to do you a favour. I’m not sure if anyone has come from second place on the last day of the season to win the Premier League. We certainly went down to West Ham in ’95 knowing that the ball was in Blackburn’s court. They lost away to Liverpool but we couldn’t take advantage, we only drew down at West Ham. It’s similar to that scenario this Sunday in that we’ve got to look after ourselves and make sure we win our game. Because there’d be no worse feeling than if City fail to win and we do likewise. Hard as it may be, we’ve got to focus on ourselves and make sure we win the game at Sunderland.

If our result matches City's - win, lose, or draw - then we'll lose the title on goal difference and we might look back at certain games during the season where we might have kicked on and scored more goals, especially at home. But when was the last time a title was won on goal difference? I think it was over 20 years ago, when Arsenal pipped Liverpool in 1989. So it very rarely happens but if it does happen on Sunday then it just proves how fine a line it is between winning and losing, it really does.

The main thing is to go out and win our game – and then hope City slip up. When we lost the title at West Ham in ’95, we knew when we were on the pitch that Blackburn were struggling at Anfield. All we could do was push on and try and get a winner at West Ham and although we went very much gung-ho, it never materialised. The United players on Sunday will be aware of what’s going on at City because they’ll know from the crowd what’s happening. But the players will have to concentrate as much as they can on winning the game at Sunderland. That’s not going to be easy by the way. Everyone’s hoping that City slip up but we’ve got to make sure we do our job

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