David de Gea has warned that Manchester United “cannot miss this chance” after forcing their way back into the Premier League title picture, with the Red Devils looking to bring an eight-year barren run to a close.
Trophies have been collected since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, but the English top-flight crown has remained elusive.
United have been forced to watch on as arch-rivals such as Manchester City and Liverpool have risen above them and cemented standings at the top of the domestic game.
Reversing that trend has not been easy, with several managers and big-money signings failing to live up to expectations at Old Trafford and deliver the reversal in fortune that a loyal fan base longs for.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has, however, started to turn the tide and will see his class of 2020-21 hit top spot with a positive result at Burnley on Tuesday – with that contest leading into a crunch clash with Liverpool at Anfield.
De Gea is aware that United need to make the most of their opportunity and put down markers that show they mean business.
The Spanish goalkeeper, who formed part of Ferguson’s last title-winning squad, told the Red Devils’ official website: “I have been fighting for the title in a couple of seasons when Sir Alex was here. Now we are there again and it’s taken us a lot of time to get there to be honest and we cannot miss this chance.
“We have to be very, very focused in every game and try to win all of them. Hopefully if we are good physically and mentally then we can be there and we can fight for sure for the Premier League.
“It’s true there is a lot to play yet, but of course it’s a chance to be there, to be top of the league.
“It’s a good challenge for us. We will play against a difficult team in Burnley, away from home, but if we want to win the league then we have to win these type of matches. I’m saying the same thing, but all we can do is focus on each match, take it game-by-game and be 100 per cent focused.”
De Gea will have an important part to play for United from this point, with his vast experience being put to good use between the sticks.
He has made more Premier League appearances for the Red Devils than any other non-British player and sits fifth on the club’s all-time chart with 424 outings to his name.
“I’m very, very proud to reach that number of games,” De Gea, who has figured in 327 top-fight fixtures, added.
“It’s great for me. I feel good, confident and proud. I’ve played a lot of games but hopefully like I said there are many more to come.
“I feeling very well. I’m training hard, feeling sharp and confident in the games. When you feel well and train well then in the games it’s easy to play.
“You have to be focused of course and always play at 100 per cent and helping the team is the most important thing. The team is winning and in good form so everything at the moment is good.
“We have won many games in a row away in the Premier League – that’s not easy.
“Now everything is very tight, the team has improved a lot, but every Premier League match is difficult and Burnley will be, like I said, a big fight. But we have another chance to make a big step to win the Premier League.”