THEO WANTS TO BE
ATHLETIC BILBAO (3) v MAN UTD (2) Thursday, 6pm – Live on Channel 5
DANNY WELBECK reckons Manchester United’s return to the Premier League summit is bad news for Athletic Bilbao.
United moved into pole position in the title race after Manchester City’s unexpected slip at Swansea on Sunday.
And Welbeck believes Sir Alex Ferguson’s troops are in the mood to turn round their Europa League last 16 tie against the La Liga side after taking a significant step towards winning a record 20th domestic title.
The United striker said: “I think we’ll get confidence from our recent results, but we know there’s no room for complacency at all.
“We’re getting to the end of the season and winning is vital. We need to get as many points as possible.
“We are focusing on ourselves and knowing the next match is always the most important.
“You can’t afford to slip up at any point, so it’s always the next game that’s on my mind.”
Midfielder Michael Carrick said United were determined to make up for last week’s disappointing first leg defeat at Old Trafford.
“We didn’t play well enough and we were disappointed with the outcome,” said Carrick (right).
“But it is far from over. There’s 90 minutes left and we’re confident we can do something in Spain.
“We won away from home in our last game in Europe against Ajax.
“We need to produce a similar performance against Bilbao.”
United will be lifted by Bilbao’s 2-1 weekend defeat at Osasuna that pushed them down to seventh in La Liga.
But Los Leones are formidable at home. As well as defeating Paris Saint-germain and Lokomotiv Moscow in Europe, Barcelona were held 2-2 at San Mames in November.
WALCOTT is convinced his long-term future lies at Arsenal – as strike partner to Robin van Persie.
Van Persie is out of contract in 2013 and fears are growing he will move to mega-rich Manchester City this summer.
The Holland striker insists he will not discuss his next move until the end of the season.
But Arsenal must decide whether to cash in on the player if he refuses to sign a new deal – and City boss Roberto Mancini has made it clear he would love to sign the hitman.
Walcott’s future is also in question, with the winger’s Emirates contract due to run out in two years.
But after the England man provided two assists in the Gunners’ thrilling 2-1 Monday night win over Newcastle, he made it clear he wants to stay.
And Walcott would love nothing more than to carry on his partnership with Van Persie.
“I like to do my talking on the pitch and if I just keep on playing well then I will see what comes,” said Walcott.
“I like to let my agent deal with that side of things. This is maybe the second year that Robin and I have had a run together in the team.
“Hopefully, in the future I would like to play up front with him.
“That would be fantastic for me, but if I am setting up goals then that
THUMBS UP: Welbeck believes Bilbao’s players (inset) won’t be celebrating after United turn the tie around in the return leg