Robinson backs United in Premier League top-four race

Ralf Rangnick

Paul Robinson is firmly on the fence when it comes to the Elland Road battle on Saturday between two of his former clubs.

Both Leeds and Spurs need points for hugely different reasons – the home team to keep themselves above the Premier League relegation zone and the visitors to get their push for a top-four finish back on track.

The former England goalkeeper told The Betfred Football Show that he thinks it will be a 2-2 draw.

He had strong views about the “stubbornness” of Leeds boss Marco Bielsa, who sticks to the same open tactics despite heavy defeats to Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool.

Regarding Spurs, the 42-year-old described Antonio Conte as a “reactive manager who is very honest”.

He referred to the obvious issues at the club, adding that it will be an entertaining ride with the Italian at the helm.

Turning to Manchester United ahead of their home game against Watford on Saturday, he believes they showed what strong characters they have in the dressing room to bounce back against Leeds and Atletico Madrid in the last week – and he believes Ralf Rangnick’s side are in pole position for a fourth-placed finish behind City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

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On the title race, he pointed to that April 10 fixture, when Liverpool visit the Etihad, as a “massive game,” and praised both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp for the way they are able to rotate their squads while still winning games.

Robinson suggested that Guardiola regards the Champions League as the Holy Grail – and that he would probably put it above another Premier League title in terms of importance to City.

He tips Liverpool to beat Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, which he reckons might go to extra-time.

Finally, Robinson praised the appointment of Mark Hughes as manager of League Two club Bradford.

“It shows a huge amount of ambition,” he said, adding that after three years out of football there will be nowhere for Hughes to turn to if he doesn’t succeed.

Looking at the weekend’s Premier League fixtures, Robinson predicts wins for Southampton against Norwich, City at Everton and West Ham at home to Wolves – while he goes for draws between Burnley-Palace and Leeds-Spurs.

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