United must win to offer themselves a mathematical chance (though under probability) of catching the Cityzens as a win will draw them a step closer to the noisy neighbours and League favourite Manchester City.
City suffered their first defeat in the league this season against Liverpool on Sunday and United's 3-0 victory over Stoke the following day cut the advantage to 12 points.
"It's obvious that we're not going to let the option disappear", he told reporters.
Valencia, who returned to the United line-up after being out since mid-December through injury, gave his side the lead inside ten minutes, when he curled in a shot with his left foot from inside the box.
Stoke went into this fixture with new manager Paul Lambert watching from the stands and the Scot was of course hoping to see his side, who now sit in the bottom three, put on a good performance.
Martial's goal, in particular, stood out. It was a moment that showed why it is Mkhitaryan, rather than Martial, is likelier to be on his way to the Emirates Stadium.
The Frenchman joined United for a then world-record £89.3 million ($118.2 million, 100.6 million euros) from Juventus in 2016. He probably will play the next one against Stoke.
Frenchman Pogba would have chalked up a third assist had Butland not stopped Martial almost walking the ball in, and Mata nearly picked out the bottom corner. The 20-year old was clearly freezing his bollocks off. Indeed, he's saved the Red Devils on multiple occasions with his phenomenal saves, most notably in the 3-1 win against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in December 2017.
Lambert chose not to take charge of the team at Old Trafford after being appointed as Mark Hughes' successor on Monday but, watching from the directors' box, he will have have seen some things he liked.
The Spaniard's current deal expires next summer but the club have the option of increasing it by a year.
"And in my case, when I think it's my fault and I realise that I should behave in a different way, I'm the first one to apologise, like I did with Ranieri when I had the chance".
United visit Burnley, who secured a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford in the reverse fixture last month. "But it doesn't meant to say he's going to come to United".
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