Paul Scholes insists Manchester United can be the ‘best of the rest’ in the Premier League this season and finish second to Manchester City.
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Erik ten Hag’s side are currently fifth, having taken 15 points from their opening eight league games.
United suffered a dismal start to the campaign – losing at home to Brighton and then being smashed 4-0 by Brentford – but then won four games in a row prior to the international break.
A 6-3 drubbing at the hands of Man City gave United a humbling reality check but the Red Devils at least returned to winning ways at the first time of asking, beating Everton at Goodison Park last weekend.
Manchester United are nine points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal and eight behind local rivals Manchester City, although they can cut that gap if they win their game in hand.
While Man City are the only team yet to lose in the English top-flight this season, Pep Guardiola’s side are playing second fiddle to in-form Arsenal, who have won 11 of their last 12 games in all competitions to emerge as the early pace-setters.
Despite Arsenal’s impressive form, Scholes believes Manchester United have a squad capable of soaring up the Premier League table and finishing second behind defending champions Man City.
Asked if United can be the ‘best of the rest’ this season behind Manchester City, Scholes said on BT Sport: ‘Yeah, I think they can, they’ve got the squad to do that.
‘They need to be more clinical though. We keep saying that. The chances they create… they’ve got to find goals from somewhere.
‘There is goals in this team though. We see the fixtures they’ve got coming up and Manchester United are more than capable of beating most of those teams.’
The former England midfielder added: ‘After those first two games, I was really concerned that United wouldn’t finish in the top six.
‘But the way they’ve fought back, winning five of their last six games, they’ve given themselves a great chance. They do look like they could be the best of the rest.
‘I think they’ve got the squad of players that means they could be. It’s still very early days for some of these players, the manager and his staff as well. The longer it goes on, the more confident I’ll be of them getting in the top four.’
Manchester United and Arsenal both secured Europa League victories on Thursday night, against Cypriot side Omonia and Norwegian outfit Bodo-Glimt respectively.
Speaking before United’s 1-0 win over Omonia, Owen Hargreaves outlined what would represent a ‘successful’ season for the Red Devils under new boss Ten Hag.
‘This is one of the trophies they should try and win,’ he said of the Europa League. ‘I think they’re one of the favourites, for sure.
‘There are other trophies. The Premier League is obviously unrealistic, we saw that against Man City. But I think if they can finish in the top four and win a trophy it would be a great debut season from Erik ten Hag.’
Manchester United and Arsenal both return to Premier League action on Sunday. Ten Hag’s side host Newcastle United, while the Gunners visit Leeds United.
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