Erik ten Hag: Manchester United 'back in the race' for Champions League spot

Manchester United's on a season-long winning streak, and Erik ten Hag can see his season's goals back within focus as the Red Devils bid to return to the UEFA Champions League.

"I think we are back in the race and we are building momentum," Ten Hag said after United beat Luton Town 2-1 on Sunday behind the power of a Rasmus Hojlund brace. "We need to build pressure. Every game is a final to get closer to them."

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Hojlund scored twice in the first seven minutes but Luton pulled one back shortly thereafter. Man United couldn't convert several chances to double its advantage, but defended well against the Hatters' charge and claimed another win.

The Red Devils have now beaten Aston Villa, Wolves, West Ham, and Luton on this run. It's not a murderers' row by any means but the defeats of Villa and Wolves are quality and four on the spin is no joke.

Can Manchester United return to UEFA Champions League?

Fourth place is the goal, but fifth could be enough for a UCL spot this season.

Fifth is very much within reach, as United is just three points behind Spurs. The Red Devils are five back of Aston Villa and nine behind third-place Man City (and the away derby is two league games away).

[ MORE: Premier League standings ]

The fixture list is forgiving aside from the derby. Fulham visit next, followed by an FA Cup trip to Forest and the derby at the Etihad Stadium. Bottom-three visits from Everton and Sheffield United are followed by a trip to Brentford to close out March. April gets dicey, but points are there now.

Ten Hag praises Hojlund mentality, feels board behind him

One of Ten Hag's big summer buys was Hojlund, and the Dane has now scored in six-straight games since waiting until Boxing Day to open his account.

His seven goals are good, and his Champions League production adds another five to the tally. Ten Hag likes what he sees from the 21-year-old.

"We recruited him on his character," Ten Hag said. "I knew it was strong. He can really perform under stress and that is something you need a Man United striker. He doesn't get nervous or lose confidence. He has a lot of confidence and I'm sure he will score even more."

And Ten Hag feels confident that he's also got support of Sir Jim Ratcliffe and United's new team. There have been discussions about whether Ten Hag's project will fall victim to the takeover.

"I have very good contacts. I know what's going on," he said. "For Manchester United, it is very good. It's highly ambitious. They are good people coming in. We are the project and they can help us and support us to accelerate this project."