Jamie Carragher believes Manchester United are not guaranteed to finish in the Premier League top four.
United are currently third in the table and are favoured to finish there and qualify for the Champions League alongside league leaders Arsenal and Manchester City.
However, following Newcastle’s 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest on Friday night, the fifth-placed Magpies are now just three points behind the Red Devils, with Tottenham sandwiched in-between.
Additionally, Liverpool and Brighton are also in contention to finish in the top four, especially once games in hand are taken into consideration.
Though it would be surprising to see United drop out of the top four given their incredible recent form, they do have a disadvantage in that their schedule is far more hectic than their rivals thanks to participation in the FA Cup and Europa League.
Carragher thinks it could happen, largely down to the form of Newcastle who showed great spirit to come from behind to beat Forest in injury time at the City Ground.
‘What that result does is bring Manchester United back into the pack in terms of the top four positions,’ the Liverpool legend told Sky Sports.
‘I think for a long time we’ve felt that United were guaranteed to be in the top four. Gary [Neville] went as far to say they would finish second.
‘But now it looks like they’re in a real fight now to be in the top four, especially with Newcastle playing Manchester United next. The big thing for Tottenham is the fact that they do have play both Newcastle and United.
‘The thing about Liverpool and Tottenham is it feels like there’s a little bit of unrest at both clubs. I don’t think you get that at Newcastle.
‘Even when they don’t win a game it’s still a really good performance. I very rarely watch them and am not impressed. This [international] break may actually be coming at a bad time for them.
‘Just because they’re doing well doesn’t mean they’ll be there next year. Chelsea and Tottenham will be a lot stronger next season.’
Newcastle host Manchester United on 2 April but before then the Red Devils take on Fulham in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.
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