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Forget about fourth - let's go Gunning for third spot; United must think big in bid for a Euro place.

Byline: Malcolm MACDONALD

MY message to Newcastle as we reach the climax to the season is: think BIG.

Never mind fourth place. Focus on Arsenal in third.

When light dawned this morning, the Gunners were three points head of United but significantly had played a game more.

That makes them vulnerable because they can be dodgy. They lost at home to Wigan, didn't they? I want Newcastle to be positive rather than worried, as a lot of fans are, about Chelsea winning the Champions League and so reducing the number of English clubs who enter via Premier League positioning to three.

It reached such a state this week the Toon Army have suddenly become backers of the Germans!

They want Bayern Munich to win for the sake of the Mags.

I feel it is a disgrace the entry of the winners to defend their trophy means a penalty on their own country, but that is the way it is.

What United must do is gun for the Gunners.

They are bang in form, have a wonderful bubbling team spirit, and can worry any opposition.

I know all this depended very much on them winning at Wigan today and United then have a massive five days coming up as they play Chelsea away and then Manchester City at home.

However, they believe in themselves and we must believe in them.

I doubt if I have ever seen a Newcastle squad with a better team spirit than this one and when that is allied to genuine ability, anything is possible.

People try to throw spanners in the works by suggesting Demba Ba cannot enjoy playing wider on the left to accommodate Papiss Cisse etc.

Yeah? Have you seen him when he runs to congratulate Cisse? He has a grin the size of the Tyne Bridge on his face!

No, a victory followed by a glance at the league table will keep Ba happy.

It is the same with Jonas Gutierrez. He has played all over the place but is relishing it.

He can get on the ball and make United's passing game work.

United have gone from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 with great effect thanks to Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa.

The team performance against Stoke was stunning.

They are a team of grafters and nigglers, but they could not overturn United.

Stoke were swamped and they stacked their hand. They knew they were beaten.

As for Wednesday night's visit to Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will be mentally as well as physically shattered after all the effort they put in against Barcelona.

Regardless of what Roberto di Matteo might say, the players will have their minds on two enormous finals - in the FA Cup and the Champions League.

Four cannot play in Munich because they are banned but they can play in the FA Cup.

That is a lot of players trying to stay fit for a huge day out.

United can take advantage of that if they go with a positive but sensible attitude.

They have been doing that for most of the season.

So let's be bold and brave. Let's have a big end to a wonderful campaign.

In an interview with JOHN GIBSON

CAPTION(S):

KEY MAN Hatem Ben Arfa is pulling the strings for United NEW ROLE Jonas Gutierrez has been in excellent in midfield
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 28, 2012
Words:555
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