By Mark Walker, PA
Manchester United midfielder Marcel Sabitzer says his side will be ready if the top two falter in the Premier League title race.
United closed the gap on leaders Arsenal to five points on Sunday after late goals from Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho secured them a 2-0 win at Leeds.
The Gunners have two games in hand on Erik ten Hag’s side, while Manchester City’s 3-1 home win against Aston Villa later on Sunday kept them two points above United with one game in hand.
Sabitzer, on loan from Bayern Munich, said there were “big things ahead” for United after being pushed hard by Leeds at Elland Road in the second league meeting between the two Roses rivals in the space of five days.
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When asked if United can win their first league title since 2013, the Austria international said: “It’s hard you know. We’re a bit behind them, but when we keep going, doing our job, we’ll be ready for that. We will see.
“There’s big games ahead, big things ahead. We have to keep going, keep improving, keep the energy high and we’ll see what happens at the end of the season. But we’re ready to go.”
Rashford was once again the game-changer for United against Leeds. He sparked his side’s fightback from 2-0 down with their first goal in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw at Old Trafford and on Sunday broke the deadlock with another brilliant header.
It was the England striker’s 21st goal of the season for United in all competitions and his 13th in 15 appearances since the World Cup.
Ten Hag hailed him one of the best forwards in Europe after Sunday’s match and Sabitzer added: “Yeah, he’s a type of a different player. He can make the difference.
“He’s a great guy, a great player as well, so he’s helping us a lot at the moment. He should keep going and we’re very happy to have him.”
Leeds’ winless league run was extended to nine games and they remain one point above the relegation zone, while their frustrating search for a new manager is heading into a second week.
Stand-in skipper Luke Ayling told LUTV: “We played really well for 80 minutes there and we gave it our all. We had some big chances, in the second half especially I think, and they’re the moments that change games.”
Leeds will hope to have Jesse Marsch’s successor in place before next week’s crucial trip to relegation rivals Everton – former Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder was watching at Elland Road on Sunday – before they face bottom club Southampton the following week.
Ayling added: “We’ll see what next week brings. We’re not sure what’s going on behind the scenes, whether we’re close to getting a new manager.
“But Skubes (caretaker boss Michael Skubala) and his staff have been brilliant. Our team effort and stats show that and we’ll keep plugging along until things change.
“In what’s been a tricky week for the club, we’ve stuck together and played really well in these two games.”