The midfielder knows his club must focus on three matches ahead if they are to reach next year’s Champions League

Jesse Lingard knows it is essential for Manchester United to finish in the top four as they prepare for a potentially decisive run of matches.

United were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona on Tuesday, losing 3-0 at Camp Nou and 4-0 on aggregate.

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The defeat, their fifth in seven outings across all competitions, leaves the Red Devils short on form and confidence as they prepare to face Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea over the next week.

With United sitting sixth in the Premier League table and two points outside the top four, poor results in those forthcoming matches could deal a fatal blow to their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

And Lingard has issued a rallying cry to the rest of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad ahead of Sunday’s trip to Goodison Park.

“I think it’ll be a tough game,” he told MUTV. “Both teams are fighting for something for the end of the season. It’s just as important for them as it is for us, so we’ll need to be on top form.

“We know what’s on the line and what’s there to be had. Top four is massive, to obviously play in the Champions League next season. It’s a massive competition and United always deserve to be in there.

“Defeats can tend to linger but we know we have a big week ahead, so Ole has tried to take our minds off it and concentrate on Everton, City and Chelsea. They are the three big games that we need to win.

“We’ve got to be at 100 per cent in every game with the mindset to win and get three points, which is the most important thing.”

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