Thursday, February 28, 2013
Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck is putting their Champions League showdown with Real Madrid to the back of his mind as they prepare for the Premier League visit of Norwich City, insisting: “The next game is always the most important.”
United play the first of four successive home games when they take on the Canaries at Old Trafford on Saturday (3pm), with the second leg of their European tie at home to Real coming up on Tuesday night.
But England international Welbeck, who scored in the 1-1 draw in the first leg in Madrid, said it was a case of first things first.
The immediate target will be to beat Norwich and restore United’s Premier League lead to 15 points, with second-placed Manchester City not in action until Monday night, when they visit Aston Villa.
“The manager and coaching staff keep reiterating the fact that the next game is the most important,” said Welbeck.
“I think the whole squad has got that into their heads and we’ve all got the same mentality of going into the next game and needing to win to gain momentum.
“Once we come to the Real Madrid game, we’ll see what happens. It will be good not to have to travel anywhere for the next four matches in a row and we can try to get wins in every single game.
“All credit to the squad as well because every single player is fighting for their place. They all want to get on the pitch to do the best they can in every competition this year. We are still in three competitions and yet we’re coming to the end of the season. It’s good for the whole squad.”
The 22-year-old Welbeck replaced Robin van Persie as a substitute in Saturday’s 2-0 win at Queens Park Rangers and could keep his place if the Dutchman fails to recover from the hip injury he suffered falling into a camera pit.
Welbeck told ManUtd.com and MUTV he was still excited after his goal against Real – only his second of the season for United.
“It was a great feeling to get a goal at the Bernabeu, especially because of the whole occasion with all our fans travelling over and with it being such a big game.
“It was a big goal - probably the biggest goal I’ve scored. It’s something you strive for since being a little kid. Playing for Manchester United in one of the biggest games made me feel proud and it gives you motivation to strive for more. I’d like to get more goals but it’s more difficult to score when playing out wide. You need to be more creative as well but scoring is part of my game I’d like to resurrect. If I can add goals from playing on the wing then it’s going to be beneficial to the whole team.”
Veteran Ryan Giggs, who scored his first goal for United against Norwich back in 1991, is poised for the 1,000th senior appearance of his career after 931 outings for United, 64 caps for Wales and four for Team GB in the Olympics.
United follow Norwich and Real Madrid with a home FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea on March 10 and the Barclays Premier League visit of Reading six days later.