No club in the Premier League era can match United’s know-how in finishing a season strongly - and there are plenty of reasons for optimism in this run-in…
The young and restless
The fresh-faced verve that underpinned United’s fast start to the season could prove integral if the Reds are going to muster a sprint for the line. Sir Alex’s squad remains imbued with vitality, an energy possessed in spades by the youthful; one that, properly harnessed, can make this an unforgettable climax to a topsy-turvy campaign. The desire to do so, according to Danny Welbeck, burns brightly in the United dressing room.
“I don’t think anybody understands how hungry we are for this title,” says the striker. “We’re lucky to be in this position but it is hard work and we want to fulfil our dreams, win the title and keep winning and keep winning. There’s nothing going to stop us.” Welbeck has embodied United’s campaign; conducting himself with skill, desire and increasing street smarts as the harsh lessons of top-level football have accumulated by the game.
Now, as the stakes rise, the Longsight lad and his fellow fledglings are relishing the chance to win their first domestic crown. “These are exciting times, definitely,” he says. “Going out every weekend and playing in these games, there’s nothing better than that. It’s so exciting and you just want to win so badly. I think you’ve got to be confident within yourselves to know that once you come to these games, you’re going to win.”
The undiluted enthusiasm with which the Reds’ youngsters are pounding the home straight carries an infectious excitement.
Men at the barricades
Composed influences are vital to steer United’s youngsters on the right side of the fine line between excitement and impulsiveness, especially in defence. As the squad’s most-decorated defenders, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra are well-qualified to steady the ship, while Jonny Evans, at 24, has emerged victorious from two title run-ins at Old Trafford and played a key role in Sunderland’s promotion of 2006/07. Of