Denis Irwin: ‘Manchester United capable of winning Champions League’

  • Denis Irwin

Denis Irwin: ‘Manchester United capable of winning Champions League’

Former Manchester United defender Denis Irwin has claimed that Jose Mourinho holds the key to the club’s hopes of success in the Champions League this season.

The Red Devils earned a creditable goalless draw away to Sevilla in the first leg of their last-16 clash last week and are favourites to progress through.

United are also left battling for silverware in the FA Cup, with Brighton & Hove Albion up next in the quarter-finals, and according to long-serving full-back Irwin, his old club have the attacking quality required to win both competitions.

“It’s a big month coming up with Sevilla and Brighton at home. We’ve just had Chelsea at home and got Liverpool at home as well,” he is quoted as saying by PA. “I think you’ve got to accept that [Manchester] City have got a very, very healthy lead and besides them having a huge, huge slip up, they’re going to win the league. So, it’s a battle to finish as high as possible. We’re in second place at the moment – and we seemed to be forever in sixth last year so that’s a huge improvement.

“Liverpool are a form team, Spurs are a form team, so it’s going to be very tight and very close, so we’ve just got to keep going to the end and hopefully finish as high as possible. The FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton will be difficult but you want your matches at home. In the Champions League, I think any one of 10 teams can win it and I’d include us in that because I think the manager knows how to win. You saw that in the Europa League last season. His history will tell you he knows how to win in Europe as well, so that will count for us.

“Jesse [Lingard] has come in with a lot more this year, so there’s good avenues there. We just need to keep going because as I said at this stage of the season it starts to tighten up a bit now we’re coming to the money end of it. Obviously we got a huge win against Chelsea on Sunday, but there’s a huge battle I think for the top-four.

“I think from here on in now, games do have a habit of tightening up. So, there’s going to be a lot of close games and hopefully we keep doing defensively what we’ve been doing, and we’ve got enough going forwards now with Alexis [Sanchez] coming in and [Romelu] Lukaku banging the goals in.”

Man United are next in action on Monday night with a trip to face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the Premier League.