Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira has labelled Sunday’s Premier League clash with Chelsea at Old Trafford as a must-win game.
United have lost seven of their last nine fixtures in all competitions, including four of their previous six league matches.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side trail Chelsea, who occupy the final Champions League berth, by three points with three games remaining and Pereira insists there can be no more slip-ups.
“It’s a must-win,” Pereira told the club’s official website. “We have to show we want the top four and, in these games, we have to show our level and show we are worthy to be in the Champions League.
“We want to do everything we can to get into the top four. We have to take each game on its own and get the three points.
“We have to stick together as a team and work together and try to get the three points in each game.”
Belgium-born Brazilian Pereira arrived at the club’s academy from PSV Eindhoven on his 16th birthday and has made the breakthrough into United’s first team this season.
The 23-year-old has made a total of 33 senior appearances for United, with 14 of those coming after Solskjaer took charge in December, while his first goal for the club, in the home win against Southampton, won the club’s goal of the month for March.
“I’ve learnt so much. Overall, for me, it’s been a special season,” Pereira said.
“I got my first start, scored my first (Premier League) goal and played in my first derby, although the result was disappointing.
“I feel like I have got better on a lot of things and the manager and the staff have helped with me with everything.
“I’m so grateful to him (Solskjaer) that he puts his trust in me, and I just want to show on the pitch that he can trust me in every game. I want to play and do well for the team.”
Fellow midfielder Paul Pogba’s inclusion in the PFA’s Premier League Team of the Year this week has sparked much debate, but Pereira has no doubts about the France international’s worth to the team.
“Paul is a world-class player, everyone knows it,” Pereira added. “You can see it every day, he has experience and I’m very happy for him and very happy that he’s with us at United.”
Solskjaer’s side must show significant improvement if they are to climb level on point with Chelsea in the race for a top-four finish.
United have come in for severe criticism following back-to-back defeats to Everton and Manchester City, but defender Victor Lindelof is relishing the challenge.
“Every match is huge for us,” the Sweden centre-half told matchday programme United Review.
“For me, I always want to play in the big games against the top teams. That’s what you work for every day and what you dream about when you’re younger, to play these kinds of games. I live for these matches.”
Eden Hazard will be bidding to maintain his superb form for Chelsea on Sunday and Lindelof said there are no secrets about how best to keep the Belgium playmaker quiet.
“Don’t give him too much space because he will do something great, he’s a fantastic player,” Lindelof added.
“He’s shown that for a lot of years now. You have to stay close to him and don’t let him have any space with the ball facing our goal.”