Alan Shearer and Ian Wright both think Manchester United are now among the favourites to finish in the Premier League top four after their narrow 1-0 win over Brentford on Wednesday night. The Red Devils had gone into the game hoping to boost their chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. And they did exactly that, with Marcus Rashford bagging the only goal of the game.
Speaking on Premier League TV, Shearer and Wright were both asked whether United were favourites to finish in the top four.
And both men agreed, with Shearer adding ‘absolutely’ after the pair said ‘yes’ to the question.
The former Newcastle star insisted United had to win the showdown, especially given their shambolic defeat at St James’ Park a few days previously.
“It was just a matter of coming out and winning the game, it didn’t matter how,” said Shearer.
“Then all of a sudden, Saturday might be a little bit better.
“Its just they had to win that game tonight.”
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And Wright thinks Brentford ‘didn’t read the script,’ before slamming the Bees for their flat performance.
“I’d like to have seen a Brentford side test them so we can find out.
“If teams are going to sit off you, when you’re low in confidence after coming off a roasting from the manager saying not good enough, and you’re going to let them play then you’re going to build confidence.
“The only thing I’m surprised is they [United] didn’t make more chances and score more chances.
“Because the way Brentford played tonight it didn;t seem like they were going to do too much.
“In the end, it was about that result. You get that result, then you’ve got another home game coming and all of a sudden you start to get the momentum.
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“They need to be picking up points now, for sure.”
United boss Erik ten Hag was delighted with the result, branding it a ‘very good’ performance.
The 53-year-old told Sky Sports: ”It was a very good performance. First half we played brilliant football and it is not easy against a very good Brentford.
“They defend compact and we didn't concede any chances.
“Second half we concede only one chance so then you can say the performance is really good.
"We didn't get the second goal, life would have been easier but now you have to fight to the end.
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“The passion and desire that was missing on Sunday, we showed today. We forgot our standards but we have to return to that if you want to be successful in the final stages of the season.
"This has to give us energy but we go again. Saturday is a big game again, it is going to be a hard game and we know we need energy to beat Everton."
As for Brentford boss Thomas Frank, the Dane believes sadness over the result is a sign of how far they’ve progressed under his tutelage.
"I think it's a very good picture of the fact we are disappointed we didn't get something from this game, it shows how far we have come when we go to Old Trafford against Manchester United and the disappointment is big among the Players and myself,” he said.
“In some ways we didn't play well especially in the first half. In the second half we had the big chance through Kevin [Schade] and we forced them to play a back five in the end.
"We didn't play well in the first half and didn't create any chances at all and then, ironically, we concede on a set piece which we are very good at.
“Disappointed but again it is a very good sign of how far we have come.
"The funny thing, after the goal we got more into the game and were more on top and could and should have scored. Kevin's chance was the chance.
“We didn't hit the highest level on the ball and Players didn't keep the ball well enough and that cost us.
"It shows a lot of the mentality in this team, the discipline to keep going. we had a chance to come back and we forced some situations without creating enough.
"We need to bounce back straight away and we have a game on Saturday, everything to play for."