Manchester United legend Denis Irwin believes there is “no reason” why the club cannot challenge for the Premier League title this season because the campaign is such a marathon.
In the opening eight league games, United have lost twice, against Manchester City and Watford — and also drawn twice, against Stoke City and Liverpool.
When asked if United could challenge, Irwin, who won seven Premier League titles during a 12-year stay at Old Trafford, told Sky Sports: “I don’t see why not. It’s a very competitive league. You look at the teams who could possibly win it and there are six or seven.
“They are all up there now and they are all winning. It almost feels like when you drop points then it’s a big blow, but it’s a long, hard season in the Premier League.
“There are 38 games so it’s a marathon, particularly in the last two or three months where injuries, tiredness, European games and cup games come in. All that is still to come. There’s no reason why Manchester United can’t be up there challenging.”
United are seventh, five points adrift of early pacesetters Manchester City and Arsenal. Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton are all ahead of Jose Mourinho’s men too.
Mourinho faces his former club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday in United’s next league game, having been sacked by the London club in December.
Looking ahead to Mourinho’s reunion with Chelsea, Irwin said: “He’ll be looking forward to it. He’s a football man through and through, and his job now is to get Manchester United three points.
“He’s a very experienced manager. He’s been back to plenty of his old hunting grounds before so it’s nothing new for him.”