Joe Cole makes top-four prediction about Man United and Tottenham
Joe Cole has his say on how the race for Champions League qualification via a top-four finish is shaping up
Joe Cole has claimed that Manchester United are “in the driving seat” to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League ahead of Tottenham Hotspur this season.
The Red Devils are currently in fourth spot in the top-flight table after having won their past two Premier League games, with Ralf Rangnick’s side two points ahead of sixth-placed Spurs but having played two games more than the north Londoners.
The race for Champions League qualification is poised to hot up over the next few weeks and months, with only four points separating fourth-placed United from eighth-placed Wolves as things stand.
Tottenham brought in Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur at the end of the January transfer window as Antonio Conte bolstered his squad ahead of the second part of the season.
Manchester United, meanwhile, did not make any new signings in January as Ralf Rangnick opted to focus on the players currently at his disposal.
Former West Ham United and England star Cole feels that as things stand, Manchester United are currently leading the race to secure Champions League qualification ahead of their rivals.
Speaking in an interview quoted by Metro, Cole said: “Spurs brought in a couple of players who were struggling to get into what I consider a poor, for their standards, Juventus team.
“I have watched them a few times this year and covered two live games and they’re not the Juventus of even two years ago.
“So while they are decent players, do they really improve the Tottenham squad? Maybe slightly, but it’s almost like nobody wanted to really pull the trigger in that little bracket of teams and go and gamble on a big signing to really make a difference.
“You have to respect that because you don’t want a situation where a team overspends and things go very wrong but I don’t think any team chasing fourth have really added anything significant.
“So it’ll be down to what we’ve seen so far and I think Manchester Utd are still in the driving seat.”
Meanwhile, Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has praised interim boss Rangnick for the impact he has had since his appointment at Old Trafford, especially on improving the defensive side of the Red Devils’ game.
“I think there are lots of different principles that he’s brought into the club,” Maguire told United Review. “But, for sure, we haven’t conceded as many goals, we haven’t conceded as many chances.
“It’s team effort; it’s not a back-four effort, or a goalkeeping effort [alone]. It’s a team effort. Our lives are a little bit easier from the way that they [the midfielders and forwards] are working and covering spaces in front of us, so it’s a huge effort from us all.
“But I think there’s still a lot to improve on, especially with the ball now.
“We’ve got to make sure that we carry a little bit more of a threat with the ball and look after the ball a bit better than we have done in recent weeks.”