Chris Smalling and Michael Carrick are sure former champions Manchester United are capable of beating reigning champions Manchester City to a runners-up place in the Premier League.
Louis van Gaal’s side produced their best performance of the season as they trashed in-form Tottenham 3-0 at Old Trafford, to move within two points of City, who were stunned 1-0 by Burnley.
A top-four finish is the top priority for United after a season with Champions League football but Smalling sees no reason as to why the 20-time champions cannot beat rivals City to second.
“I think we could finish second, especially after City’s result on Saturday,” he told the club’s official website. “It is all very close. There is only a point between us and Arsenal.
“I think it’s very open all the way up to second place and we will be aiming for that, especially when we are playing those teams coming up. We want Champions League football back here. It’s a must.
“Fourth is the minimum but when it’s there, second is a realistic target and if we keep on performing like that I don’t see why we can’t give it a good push.”
Next up for United is a derby clash with Liverpool, the Premier League’s in-form team following Monday’s 1-0 win at Swansea City, before a run of fixtures in April against the likes of City and Chelsea.
Carrick added: “We’ve got to aim for second place. We’re within touching distance now. You look at the table now and it’s so tight, but I suppose really we’ve just got to look to next Sunday at Liverpool.
“There are going to be ups and downs because that’s how it is, especially in the last nine or 10 games. Sunday is a big game for a lot of reasons and that is probably all we can focus on at the moment.”