Jesse Lingard says Manchester United might have to win all their remaining Premier League matches to catch Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s side have opened up an 11-point gap at the top after a record 16 consecutive league wins.
United kept their faint title hopes alive with a 2-1 win over West Brom on Sunday, and afterwards Lingard, who scored the second at The Hawthorns, conceded Jose Mourinho’s team might have to win all of their remaining 20 games if they want to lift the trophy in May.
Asked if United needed 20 victories to have a chance of the title, he said: “Probably, but we will take each game as it comes. We’ll concentrate on the next game ahead and see where we are at the end of the season.
“I think any other season we would be top with the points we have. So as long as we keep winning games that’s the most important thing and we will see where we are.
“With the squad we have got we have to always believe in each game. Some games we will play bad and win the game and sometimes we will play good and lose the game, so it’s one of those haphazards of football.”
Lingard, who turned 25 last week, had to wait until mid-October to make his first Premier League start of the season.
But after being named in Mourinho’s team for the last five games, he has scored four goals to make it seven for the season in all competitions — his best return since breaking into the first team in 2015. His four Premier League goals is also more than Mesut Ozil and Dele Alli.
He said: “I’m hungry for more goals and any way I can help the team — assists, goals — and to win the game is the most important thing.
“We’re doing very well on the whole at the moment. Keep that up and see where we are at the end of the season. It’s another three points. I thought we defended very well and it was comfortable first-half and we kind of let it slip second-half, but it’s another three points.”
After predominately playing on the wing last season, Lingard’s goal-scoring run has coincided with a move into the No. 10 position behind Romelu Lukaku.
The England international’s form is one reason why Henrikh Mkhitaryan has not started a game for more than a month.
Lingard said: “Obviously playing further forward you are going to get more goals and create chances also, so to play there with Romelu, we are getting that understanding now and chipping in together.
“When I got to the reserves I played more on the left or the right just for my development and eventually moved inside again. I think you get on the ball a lot more and you can make things happen more and you can obviously play closer to the main striker and get the bits off him.”