Antonio Valencia acknowledged it is a “sad” situation for Manchester United’s only involvement in the Premier League title race to be their upcoming clashes with Tottenham and Leicester City.
Louis van Gaal’s men are not in contention to win the league, but do face second-placed Spurs at White Hart Lane on Sunday and table-topping Leicester on May 1.
Valencia is looking forward to taking part in those significant matches, but rued the fact United are not more directly involved in the battle, as they instead fight rivals Manchester City – who are one point ahead of them – for a top-four finish.
“When you are playing against opponents who are challenging for the title, in the shape of Tottenham and Leicester, they are going to be big fixtures,” the 30-year-old told MUTV.
“It will be interesting but a little bit sad in a way because we feel that we should be fighting for the title itself.
“But we have to make sure we keep on this winning run in order to achieve what we need to. It will be exciting for us as we are playing for our place in the Champions League next season.
“We know how important historically the Champions League is here, how happy it would make the fans to qualify for that competition again for next season. So the main battle is to get back into that top four.”
Valencia – a winner of two titles in 2011 and 2013 – has made three appearances since returning from a serious foot injury that kept him out for almost five months.
“I’m really keen to play,” he said. “After five months out of action, I’m happy with the way the operation went and overjoyed to be back and available.
“I’m fully recovered and, when I play, it’s very important for me to perform well to show how much I like being here and how much I love this team.”
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