Valencia hopes EFL Cup triumph can inspire late title charge

By Joe Wright 25 February 2017
Valencia hopes EFL Cup triumph can inspire late title charge

Antonio Valencia hopes that a victory in Sunday's EFL Cup final can inspire Manchester United to a late challenge for the Premier League title.

Jose Mourinho's side face Southampton at Wembley looking to win the trophy for the first time since 2010, when they defeated Aston Villa.

Success would keep United in the hunt for a quadruple, with Mourinho's men still in contention to win the FA Cup, the Europa League and the league title, although they sit 12 points behind leaders Chelsea with only 13 games remaining.

And Valencia, who says confidence is building by the week at Old Trafford, believes a trophy at this stage of the season could inspire United to claw their way back into title contention.

"Winning the cup could give us even more impetus, as we're already pretty high on confidence," he told the club's official website. "It's a big thing for us, there are around 15 games left in the Premier League and anything can still happen.

"While we have a chance mathematically, we'll carry on battling to try and win the title."

United have twice enjoyed success at Wembley in the last year, winning the FA Cup under Louis van Gaal in May before claiming a 2-1 victory in the Community Shield over Leicester City.

Chris Smalling suggested this week that their experience of the big occasion could give them a mental edge over Southampton but Valencia says they must put past victories out of their minds.

"We have to forget about the fact that we might have won there three, four or five times," he said. "We have to put that to one side. This is another final, and a totally different story. We cannot afford to make one single mistake, this is a final and we cannot lose our concentration for even one minute. 

"It's a stadium which really is just made for playing football and enjoying it at the same time. Let's hope that we won't be disappointed, and that we can play with a smile on our faces and with total commitment."

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